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Carmel Magazine Digital Edition SU16

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Local Ar tist Brings Dynamic Teaching to Eager Students B Y R E N E E B R I N C K S O n a recent afternoon at Mar y Chapa Academy in Greenfield, ar ts educator Nina Parris used images of dogs, crabs, horses and snails to teach addition to second-grade students. After an hour of counting and drawing, children were so engaged that they begged to continue. "If students learn through art, their retention is better. Their socialization is better. It tends to be an efficacious method of making things stick. It makes learning fun," Parris says. As artist-in-residence with First Night Monter- ey, and an educator who visits underserved schools through the nonprofit P.S. Ar ts initiative, Parris sees art open doors for students and fami- lies. The classically trained artist oversees summer ar t camp sessions and encourages creativity through weekly ar ts nights at the Greenfield Cultural Arts Center. Recently, she also mentored Monterey Bay Aquarium student oceanography club members who painted marine scenes on downtown Monterey utility boxes. Parris creates her own watercolor paintings, textile work and other projects in her free time. But she draws real inspiration from connecting with community members. "When people are given the permission to dis- cover and explore their creativity," Parris says, "people will float. It raises their energy level and their self-confidence, and they have an experience that's very valuable. That's what motivates me." For more information, visit SHORTCUTS ART Arts educator Nina Parris is artist-in-residence with First Night Monterey, and through the nonprofit P.S. Arts initiative, uses art to help students relate to other subjects. 84 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 6 Photo: Kelli Uldall

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