Artists in Schools

Sunny Samuel with students from the Franklin Service Center

Read the featured story in The Current about the Artists in Schools program.

Franklin Service Center 2017-18 Artists and Theater Teachers in Residence

Sunny Samuel

Micro to Macro
Residency: October – November 2017
Artist Interns: Clara Lemus and Francesca Towers

In Micro to Macro, participants will gather organic and artificial objects from our surroundings and the classroom. We will explore our collection of found objects through the use of a microscope attachment for computer tablets. This basic microscope, which provides 60x magnification through the use of the tablet’s built-in camera, will allow us to observe in brilliant detail the structures, patterns, and layers inherent in the objects and life forms that exist in our environment. Participants will begin by learning simple drawing techniques for the representation of these forms. Participants will then be encouraged to envision and create drawings from which the forms and patterns of our observations will interact with previous marks, layer upon layer, emerging into larger, imaginative abstract works. Our goal is to explore and celebrate, through seeing and drawing, the visual qualities of a largely-unseen, unbelievably complex yet surprisingly coherent and elegant microscopic world around us. Our drawings will be colorful and loose—an exercise in which the participants are guided to resist the pressures of realism—and instead be inspired to convey both what they see and how they feel—a journey into a new world of forms.

Sunny Samuel was born in India and immigrated to the USA as a child with his family. He is an artist and teacher working in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. After completing his degree in biology (B.S., 2007) he went on to drop out of medical school, refocus on his interests in drawing, painting, and sculpture, and earn his M.F.A from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017. This Winter and Spring (2018), Sunny will be teaching drawing, painting, and photography courses in the College of Letters & Science and the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sunny Samuel’s paintings and sculptures are inspired by the strings and systems which connect landscape and organism. Drawing from his experiences and interests in cellular biology, natural history, and contemporary sci-fi narratives about the possibility of life on other planets, his paintings and objects are laboratorial and explorative. By embracing transparency and light, Samuel invites the viewer to gaze into strange forms and territories: a consideration of spaces beyond our reach and unseen by the naked eye.

Clara Lemus is a third-year transfer student at UCSB majoring in sociology and minoring in art. Her interest in teaching started when she began to volunteer at an after-school program at an elementary school. From there she learned that working with kids is her passion, and she believes that teaching children is a great experience because you have the ability to make a positive impact on a child’s life.

Francesca Towers is a second-year student at UCSB majoring in art in the College of Creative Studies. Throughout her high-school years, her passion for art blossomed as she learned about the place of art in the world and questioned how she might fit in it. Lately, she has been interested in stepping away from realism and venturing into abstraction, which leads her work to have more of a playful, whimsical, and sometimes surreal aesthetic. She loves working in collaborative environments and being challenged by friends, mentors, and artists to break out of her comfort zone and push her art farther, and she aspires to do this for others as well.

Alesha Claveria

Developing Strength/Finding Connection – Mastering Monologues
Residency: October – November 2017
Theater Intern: Wesley Denstaedt

In the Mastering Monologues course, young actors will select, develop, and perform a one-minute contemporary monologue, such as one might use to audition for a play. Participants will develop self-awareness, empathy, and awareness of others. They will learn several acting exercises for their acting styles and needs (warm-ups, focus, attention-building skills, tuning up the instrument), search anthologies and acting sites to find age and style appropriate monologues that complement their talents and abilities, gain an introduction to character analysis, practice memorization, perform in small groups, move beyond self-consciousness and into play and experimentation, and incorporate feedback into performances. Monologues are all about the actor and the audience and so provide wonderful potential for young actors to develop and hone acting, listening, and responding skills. They will leave the course with their very own audition-length monologue they can use in future auditions, opening the door to future theatrical participation!

Breaking Through: Writing the Short Play
Residency: Spring 2018

This course will guide students through the process of drafting and editing a three-to-five-minute play on a topic of their choice. Participants will be exposed to many aspects of writing, including proper play format, incorporating feedback, self-critique, building setting and characters, breaking through “writer’s block,” writing with an eye for social and interpersonal justice, and cultivating one’s voice. The course connects an academic necessity (writing) with an end goal (a three-to-five-minute play) that can then be used to stimulate discussion on a variety of topics relevant to the lives of young playwrights and their communities. Playwriting stimulates participants to consider and interrogate multiple aspects of a socially relevant topic while also giving voice to their individual lived experiences.

Alesha Claveria is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance and a 2014 Eugene Cota-Robles fellow. She currently holds an M.S. in Public Relations from Montana State University-Billings, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing-Fiction. Her experience working with the kids and teens of the Isla Vista Teen Center in UCSB’s Nuestra Voz summer theater camp program over the past three summers reflects her belief in the importance of theater education for young people’s sense of self, social development, and community awareness. Her research interest is in Native North American theater and performed culture. Born and raised in the wilds of Montana, Claveria’s interests are influenced by the people and cultures of the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest.

Wesley Denstaedt is a second-year linguistics major at UCSB. He aspires to be an interpreter for both Spanish and Chinese and enjoys guitar, games, music, and conversation.

Jesús Ramírez

Fables on Stage
Residency: January – February 2018

In this course K-6 students will learn about and perform theatrical adaptations of different fables using theatrical game-like activities. The course will explore the value of storytelling, the moral lessons of fables, the importance of team work in the construction of a theatrical ensemble, and the expressionist quality of the body to convey artistic images and self-awareness. The methodology of the course is based on game-playing theatre, a method focused on the creation of game-like activities to work with space, attention, team work, corporal expression, composition, voice and storytelling.

Jesús D. Valencia Ramírez has a BFA in Acting (Universidad del Valle 2008) and MPhil (Universidad del Valle 2016), and is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Theatre and Dance at UCSB. He is a professional actor, acting pedagogue, and theatre historian who specializes in game-playing pedagogical strategies based on acting exercises to enhance self-awareness, team work, and critical thinking.

Elisa Ortega Montilla

Color, Form, and Feeling
Residency: February – March 2018

In Color, Form, and Feelings participants will create color studies on different surfaces to express feelings through colors, shapes and textures. Participants will begin by creating optical effects and illusions on a flat surface (paper or canvas) to explore the idea of perception by creating abstract or geometric patterns with contrasting colors on them to produce perceptual effects. Participants will then create different surfaces with textures made of canvas, paper, and three dimensional elements. They will experiment with flat or sculptural assemblages of materials, then fill them with colors in an experimental exercise where form, texture, and color play a role to explore feelings and emotions. Participants will have the option to create small installations, such as mobiles.

Throughout the sessions participants will be shown the work of different artists whose work is based on color and sensations, including artists from the Kinetic art movement and Op artists such as Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Alexander Calder, and Adolph Gottlieb. We will explore the geometric forms and abstract objects of Miró and Rothko´s Color Field paintings, which used layers of colors shimmering to convey an inner sensation.

Elisa grew up in the city of Córdoba, Spain. She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Education in 2006 and a master’s Degree in Conflict and Human Rights in 2011. After more than a decade of working in social services, she decided to channel her social commitment through art. Over the years her work has been exhibited in several collective and individual exhibitions in Córdoba, Madrid, Guatemala, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. Her solo show, The Untold History, opened in 2017 and will be touring multiple Spanish cities in 2018 and 2019. She is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Drew Griffin is a fourth-year student at UCSB majoring in linguistics and minoring in art. She someday hopes to work with children and study their behavioral development. Her plans for after college include traveling and experiencing art and culture in different countries. She enjoys painting, drawing, and spending time with friends and family.

Yumiko Glover

Brush Painting
Residency: Spring 2018

The brush painting workshops will introduce the traditional art of brush painting. Participants will learn how to paint images such as fish, bamboo, flowers and animals using sumi ink on rice paper. Participants will also explore eastern concepts of observing and understanding brush art and its related cultural elements. This workshop can be taught for any age group from 5 years-old to adult. At the end of the workshop, the participants will display their work by hanging their scrolls on the wall, and then later they will be able to take home a scroll of their work.

Yumiko Glover is a recent graduate of MFA program, and currently an Artist-in-Residence at UC Santa Barbara for the 2017-2018 academic year. Glover has been teaching brush painting at the University of Hawai’i as a teaching assistant, Honolulu Museum of Art and currently at the UC Santa Barbara, as a workshop instructor.