Artists in Schools

Artists in Schools
Local elementary school students in the Artists in Schools program

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

The IHC’s Artists in Schools program aims to enrich the quality of academic preparation and educational equity for both students and parents in Santa Barbara area elementary schools. In the program, UCSB graduate students, as Artists, Curators, and Theater Teachers in Residence, teach and mentor K-6 students in eight-week-long courses in art, art history and curation, and theater in after school programs at local elementary schools. There are also workshops that take place on the UCSB campus in the art and theater studios, and the yearlong program culminates in an art exhibit and a dramatic performance of the students’ work at UCSB for the students’ families.

Students in the art classes study drawing, painting, photography, and collage and learn about the expressive potential of elements such as colors and patterns; they also learn how to curate an exhibition of their own work. By utilizing arts techniques, they are encouraged to make art that tells a story about their neighborhood and local environment. Students in the theater classes study the building-blocks of theater and acquire tools of acting (character analysis, focus, attention-building, delivery, voice, and body expression). They also write and memorize short monologues and learn how to work together in an ensemble.

Questions about the Artists in Schools program can be directed to IHC Executive Director Erin Nerstad,

2019-20 Artists, Curators, and Theater Teachers in Residence

Jesús D. Valencia Ramírez

Residency: February – April 2020
El Camino Elementary

In “From Picture to Performance,” students learn stage composition through the use of photographs, stage areas, levels, and body and facial expression. They also learn how to create character movement and dialogue.

Jesus D. Valencia RamirezJesús D. Valencia Ramírez, BFA in Acting (Universidad del Valle 2008), MPhil (Universidad del Valle 2016), Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance at UCSB. Professional actor, acting pedagogue, and theatre historian who specializes in identity, African American Theatre and pedagogical strategies based on acting exercises to enhance self-awareness, team work, and critical thinking.

Rachel Winter

Residency: September – December 2019
El Camino Elementary

“What’s My World Made Of?” is an eight-week course that will teach students about different media and materials they can use to make art. What the students see around them will inspire painting, drawing, and building. The course includes a field trip to UCSB and a final exhibition at UCSB for students and parents.

“¿De qué está hecho mi mundo?” es un curso de ocho semanas que enseñará a los estudiantes sobre diferentes medios y materiales que pueden usar para hacer arte. Lo que los estudiantes vean a su alrededor inspirará pintura, dibujo y construcción. El curso incluye una excursión a UCSB y una exposición final en UCSB para estudiantes y padres.

Rachel Winter is a third-year Ph.D. student in the History of Art and Architecture at UCSB researching contemporary artists from the Arab world. She is specifically interested in how museums around the world collect and display contemporary Arab, Iranian, and Turkish artists post 9/11. Throughout her tenure at UCSB, Rachel served as a Teaching Assistant for art history surveys ranging from ancient to medieval, Renaissance to Baroque, modern to contemporary, and the history of photography. Rachel received her M.A. from the University of Iowa in Interdisciplinary Studies: Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies under the mentorship of Dr. Ahmed Souaiaia in 2017. During her M.A., Rachel received the award for Outstanding Graduate Student in Islamic Studies, and taught courses in Sociology, Religious Studies, and History. In 2015, Rachel received her B.A. with honors in Art History from the University of Iowa focusing on critical theory and conceptual art. Rachel also worked in museum education, including educational materials on protest art created during the Arab Spring.

Misha Farrahi is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Art History and is interested in the history of photography and art theory. Misha has interned at the UCSB Glass Box Gallery and at the University of San Diego Eating Disorders Clinic, where she was able to engage in close studies of the human brain as well as certain behavioral tendencies. This experience helped to shape Misha’s interest in art history, because within this major she gets to explore her love of history as well as better understand the psychological human condition during various periods through artistic expression.


Cesar Marquez is a second-year undergraduate student at UCSB with a double major in History of Art and Architecture and Sociology. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco but raised in the Central Valley, where his passion for working with students began. Since then he has participated in various programs as a mentor for younger students to help encourage pursuit of higher education. When he is not working with students, he enjoys playing soccer, working out, and spending time with his friends.