The Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View showcased its exhibitions and music and art courses at an open house last month.
Tessie Barrera-Scharaga’s installation sculpture, “Cartography of Longing,” is on display through Sept. 29 in CSMA’s Mohr Gallery. Her pieces incorporate paintings on canvas, found objects, books, poems and fabric. A child of immigrants, Barrera-Scharaga said she felt like an outsider growing up and found solace in books, particularly in the writings of Salvadoran poets. Poetry is a recurring theme in her art.
“This is the caliber of artists we hire to teach our students,” said CSMA Executive Director Vickie Scott Grove of Barrera-Scharaga, who is teaching at a local elementary school this semester where her students are those with special needs.
CSMA offers art and music classes for all ages, from toddlers to adults.
Sticks, shells and rocks lay scattered around a table in the preschool room. Lena Boot, a preschool art teacher, showed a child’s artwork, created on the spur of the moment, to open house attendees.
“Look at that tortoise he designed with an oversized shell as the body and tiny shells as legs,” she said, lifting the rock from the table. “Before plastic, there were stones and shells. An important feature is heft. When a child picks up a big shell or stone, it has weight. Many plastic toys don’t have that kind of weight or feel.”
In addition to its on-site art and music courses and lessons, CSMA serves 31 schools in the Bay Area. Trained teachers, all skilled musicians and artists, conduct classes whose lessons are incorporated into the schools’ curricula.
In Los Altos, CSMA provides music lessons at Almond School and art lessons at Springer School. After-school art clubs are available at Covington, Loyola, Oak, Springer and Almond schools.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who represents Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, appeared at the open house to emphasize the need for arts education.
“We are in a valley known worldwide as the center of creativity,” he said.
The open house highlighted upcoming events, including the launch of the annual CSMA Community Concert Series, scheduled 2 p.m. Oct. 20, featuring Native American dance and music.