Arts Program History & Overview
Art has a unique ability to impact children. It allows children to express themselves without a right or wrong way. Unlike other activities like music or athletics, which require special equipment or skill, art does not discriminate against those with fewer resources. For underserved youth or those speaking English as a second language, art is an even more important medium through which they can communicate their feelings.
In March of 1990 while working as the Director of Scouting for the San Francisco Giants, our Founder Larry Harper met Mr. LeRoy Neiman, who had been commissioned to paint 'Bay Area Baseball', the official art of the 1989 World Series. Larry and LeRoy struck up a lifelong friendship and the partnership that eventually grew into the first of many youth art centers.
Good Tidings built the first LeRoy Neiman Art Center at New Traditions School in San Francisco in February of 2000. Later that year, we constructed performing arts studios for dance and music at Menlo Oaks School in East Palo Alto. In 2002, Good Tidings dedicated another LeRoy Neiman Art Center for Youth at Amesti School in Watsonville, which serves migrant farm worker and Native American families.
In February of 2006, the Good Tidings Foundation partnered again with LeRoy Neiman, America's most collected artist, to build a waterfront art studio on San Francisco's historic Pier 9, which houses a free visual arts program run by the Good Tidings Foundation. In September of 2011, with the help of LeRoy and his family, the studio underwent a renovation to increase its capacity to reach even more students with the gift of art. The state-of-the-art studio now features a LeRoy Neiman Museum that chronologically highlights LeRoy's storied life.
Our Art Program
Realizing the lack of art programs at schools due to budget cuts, each year the LeRoy Neiman Art Center for Youth in San Francisco provides free art education for over 600 underserved 5th-8th graders whose schools no longer support it. Our traditional art studio environment fosters creativity and imagination. Integrating their school curriculum with visual art fundamentals, students experience high-level structured classes while embracing different cultures. We submerge students in art with up to seven two-hour or daylong visits a year to enhance their critical thinking and develop cognitive, social and personal competencies.
The LeRoy Neiman Art Center for Youth offers classes including, but not limited to:
- acrylic painting on canvas inspired by LeRoy Neiman
- still-life sketching with pastels
- quilting and sewing inspired by the Quilts of Gee's Bend
- circus scenes inspired by Alexander Calder
- clay and plaster work
- glass mosaics
Unlike afterschool programs where art is perceived as less important than core subjects, our studio operates during school hours on a field-trip basis. To prioritize art education and the creativity it develops during the school day, we integrate their current curriculum into art projects enhancing history, science and others to a higher level of comprehensive learning. Art Director and Instructor Rebecca Shannon shares her expertise with our students in an encouraging and imaginative way conducive to learning and growth.
When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted
by Rudyard Kipling
When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!