Since 2008 Rare Hare Studio has offered art classes to children ages preschool through 8th grade, introducing a wide variety of materials and techniques. Students are encouraged to explore supplies and tools freely, as well as to participate in guided lessons. Basic artistic elements such as line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as well as design concepts, are discussed and practiced at appropriate grade levels. Study of these elements is further enhanced by an emphasis upon the use of patterns and rhythm in art. Taking note of patterns in the environment around us and how they can be interrelated is an integral part of this process.
To achieve these goals, classes often use exercises that emphasize and emulate the styles of individual artists and artistic movements throughout history; although we feel historical artists have something to each us, we by no means use strict interpretation of historical artists, but rather discovery in theme and media. Classes also feature indigenous crafts and multicultural activities as appropriate. Classes support the importance of learning about art tools and techniques through demonstration and exploration, often having open ended and varied results driven by student ingenuity. Self expression and the development of a unique “artist vision” is encouraged and revered in each individual student.
An important and special feature of the Rare Hare Studio is the integration of recycled items into the creative process whenever possible.Rare Hare F.A.I.R (Fostering Artistic Ingenuity with Recycling) courses increase environmental awareness by turning normally discarded items that impact San Diego landfills into functional and creative projects.In doing so, children gain an awareness of how their own ability to express themselves can be interconnected with their community and can impact the larger world around them. In 2011, studio creator, Erin Pennell founded Art FORM, a nonprofit 501c3 offering arts education with creative reuse as way to expand the studio’s successful programs.
Erin Pennell, Creator/Director:
Erin Pennell, creator of The Rare Hare Studio, offers over 20 years of experience as an art facilitator, teaching artist and program supervisor in both public and private settings. In its 8th year, Rare Hare Studio has pioneered children’s art instruction with creative reuse in San Diego, and has passed this important role onto Art FORM.
Erin began her career in San Diego Outdoor Education, teaching combined art and nature courses in summer camps at Camp Cuyamaca. After studying early childhood education and art, earning a degree in Humanities, and being trained in Montessori methods, Erin spent five years supervising and coordinating a K-8 child development program in San Francisco’s Mission District, teaching art and developing curriculum for recently immigrated underserved public school children.
After moving back to her native San Diego, Erin implemented a First Five of California school readiness program for families in need in the Chula Vista area. Using her talents as a Montessori preschool teacher and artist, Erin created unique curriculum to assist young children with the skills needed for school. She then taught art in both public and private schools in San Diego. This led to her collaboration with several other organizations and events, including the San Diego Sculpture Show where her students created art with recycled materials, the Mingei Museum and ArtWalk, Pacific Children’s Theater, and The Art Miles Mural Project and Art Reach. Erin enjoys spreading the word about recycling arts by providing arts and crafts at community events such as ArtWalk , The North Park Arts Festival, and events along Adams Avenue, such as Adams Unplugged, Art Around Adams, and the Street Fair. In recent years, Erin has worked with Museum School, local public schools in the Mid-City region, and Girl Scouts of San Diego In 2016, Erin has been teaching art with an after school science class, bringing the “A” to a STEAM school, as well as consulting with the The Museum of Man, designing a specific workshop-art project with sustainable materials.
Seeing the need for creative reuse education to be shared by a wider audience, Erin founded Art FORM (Found Objects Recycled Materials), a nonprofit, 501c3 tax exempt organization in 2011. The mission of Art FORM is to facilitate a broader engagement with recycling arts in San Diego by providing no cost/low cost workshops and accessibility of materials for public school students and teachers, as well as the larger San Diego community. As Art FORM fundraises and builds it programs, Rare Hare is sharing it’s space temporarily until Art FORM can find a more permanent home. Currently Erin spends most of her time developing Art FORM and it’s programs, along with a dedicated board of directors. Art FORM’s creative reuse store is open on Saturdays, where you’ll find Erin or other board member helping to make materials accessible to the public. Word about the store is getting out with more and more teachers, students and community members discovering the “gold under the rainbow”.
When not facilitating art with others, Erin’s own art process includes keeping an eye out for found objects for future projects, water color, photography, collage, and sculpture. As a parent and teacher, Erin strives at all times to provide a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment for children of all ages.