Temecula artist Yvonne Gaudet has much to celebrate in her sixth year of teaching art to Temecula students. That’s because a standing room only crowd of students greets her every day, ready to put pen and pencil to paper as the fall session at Abby Reinke Elementary School gets underway.
Q: You have a talent for engaging students. How did you develop your art enrichment program, “Yes! You Can Draw?”
A: In 2006 I began teaching drawing classes for three franchised art programs. Within a month I found myself thinking, ‘This isn’t the approach I think would be most effective for teaching drawing.’ Four months later I had developed my own program, assembled my marketing materials, quit teaching for the “other guys” and was calling on principals to introduce my after-school art enrichment program. Within a month my schedule was full and I was teaching five days a week.
Q: The use of franchised art programs is one of the many directions schools have gone to expose students to the arts. In what way does your program vary?
A: While my program includes some lessons on famous artists, it has a far-reaching scope and includes all categories of subjects like architecture, animals, people, historical, seasonal, holiday, vehicles, space, insects, reptiles, plant life, landscapes, and so on. The great part is that I never repeat the same lesson twice. Each week is an entirely different drawing, which enables students to enroll over and over again. Practice makes everyone get better and better at whatever they do.
Q: You also offer enrichment courses through the city of Temecula?
A: Temecula’s Community Services Department offers my classes through their Leisure Activities Guide. This enables students who do not attend one of the schools running my program to take my classes. Additionally, I run summer, winter, and spring break camps with the city that are called “Yes, You Can Draw and Paint.” These camps combine the highly successful instruction in learning how to draw with an equally successful approach to learning how to paint, and are offered to youth ages 6-12. Classes fill fast, so register early.
Q: What are some of the more rewarding aspects of teaching art to area children?
A: There is a story about a first grader that stands out in memory. While he was focused on adding color to his fabulous drawing of an elephant he said, almost it seemed to himself since all the other little artists in class were busily chatting and working on their own masterpieces, ‘I can’t wait for Thursdays because I get to come to art class. I like this class because it helps me with all my subjects.’ I thought to myself, ‘where is a tape recorder when you need one?’ Interestingly enough, that is exactly what I explain to principals when I first approach them about running the program at their school. For support in English, I use art-specific vocabulary words in class and we discuss what they mean. Also, I have specific lessons that have an illustrative quality and tell a story. I tell the kids that’s what drawings do — they tell a story. We talk about what ideas we could use to write a story about that day’s lesson,and I encourage them to go home and write their own story about the drawing we did in class.
For more information on classes, call: 951.303.3373, or e-mail email@example.com,
Check out the Leisure Activities Guide online at: tcsd.cityoftemecula.org or call 951.694.6480.
The next class runs September 5-26.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.