Kings County Arts in Action

May 2021 Edition

Brought To You By Kings County Office of Education

Our Purpose

Arts education, which includes visual arts, music, drama, and media arts, is an important part of a well-rounded education. This newsletter serves to highlight the amazing work with the arts being done by school districts within our county.

The "Why" of Arts Education

Arts teachers in Kings County were asked to share "why" they have chosen to be a teacher:


  • Emily McCaslin, Art Teacher at Pioneer Middle School - "I choose to teach art because it makes it so easy to connect with my students. Different works of art bring out different emotions, thoughts, and conversations! When we all share our creations and our perspectives, the art naturally turns the classroom into a safe haven and a community."
  • Rob Bentley, Music Teacher at Pioneer Middle School - "I have always known music in my life. At home, at school, at church. Music has always been there. Music and the arts open tremendous opportunities for humans for not only entertainment and travel but most importantly, self expression. It allows people to channel their complex feelings in a creative way. Channeling emotions into creative endeavors is an excellent way of dealing with emotional states. I truly believe in Hans Christian Andersen's quote, "Where words fail, music speaks." There is no higher reward in the music teaching profession than being able to witness students being able to express themselves musically."
  • Megan Johnson, Art Teacher at Lemoore Middle College - "I chose art education as my profession for several reasons. For one, I am an artist and a child at heart. Working to foster art education within my community is a dream come true. I also consider myself a professional student, which is why I love being in a learning/growth mindset environment. My passion is creating. Sharing that passion in a classroom, as a teacher, allows me to interact daily with what makes me happy. Some of my favorite teachers growing up were the ones who enjoyed what they were teaching and had great passion for it. I want to be that teacher for my students. I want to inspire others and continue to grow as a person."
  • Bill Wilkinson, Band Director at Hanford Elementary School District - "Growing up in south Hanford (Roosevelt School) I was a shy, overweight, and unconfident student; a fatal trio of traits for a child in school! But when I discovered band and began to improve on the trumpet it gained me much needed confidence and a positive self-identity. In addition to the self-improvement, I experienced through becoming competent on an instrument, I fell in love with the band experience, in a large part to the credit of my mentor, Lisa Butts, whom I took trumpet lessons from in high school. I decided early on in high school that I wanted to be a band director so that I could afford students the same betterment that I had experienced as a child. For a student to become successful they must discover and hone their inner greatness; that was my driving force to become a music teacher."
  • Michelle Schofield, Band Director at Hanford Elementary School District - "I chose to work in arts education because I know from my own experience the impact the arts has on children. It is such an essential part of truly educating the whole child. The arts are a life-long journey that everyone can enjoy no matter what their physical or mental limitations may be as evidenced in our school programs. My music teachers throughout elementary, high school and college served as more than just teachers to me, but life-long mentors, friends and family. The impact they had on my life is significant and to be able to hopefully have that impact on others is a true gift. Music is such a powerful and essential part of our world and to be able to teach others to love it is truly special."
  • Jim Rickard, Music Teacher at Neutra Elementary - "I was again reminded of my “why” today as I read a Thank You card from a parent, which said, “… music is one of those things…it helps your brain grow, provides a way to process emotion and allows for self expression…”. Seeing kids’ minds and talents grow, seeing them being able to express their emotions and share who they are, sometimes without needing any words, and seeing the pure joy on their faces, all make teaching music be one of the most rewarding experiences in my life."
  • Brian Fraley, Art Teacher at Akers Elementary - "Many years ago when I was in high school, I had 3 wonderful art teachers at Lemoore High School. All I knew was that I loved to draw, but I didn’t know what to to with it. My mind was confused about the direction to go because art is defined in such a wide-ranging spectrum. Applying my interests to something that is not only pleasurable, but also profitable, is a very difficult prospect. One day, Mitch Carroll, one of my former art teachers, made an inspiring statement to me. He said, “You could be a very good art teacher.” I had never considered that and I put that on the shelf in my mind for future reference. In present day, I look back on my journey to art education which wasn’t easy, but has proven to be the best career choice for myself. Why? It was a teacher that inspired me to pursue this. As a teacher now, I can help students to direct their talents and interests in a positive and productive direction. I love to see the work of students. I love to help them value their work. I don’t do this for the thanks that they give, I do it for the satisfaction of knowing that I have given them an avenue for the expression of their creativity and ideas through visual arts. Some of them may have found the avenue to their career or a lifelong individual love for the arts."
  • William Brauckman, Art Teacher at Hanford High - "I am an Art Teacher because I get to see young artists discover their talents and develop new skills. Every year I am amazed at the creative diversity and high levels of artistic expression. I get to work with clay every day and continue to also grow as an artist in a creative atmosphere. Being an Art Educator is highly rewarding and always full of surprises."
  • Stephen Rotella, Drawing and Entertainment Design Teacher at Lemoore High - "I began teaching art because I know that in my own life, almost every opportunity I have had has initially stemmed from art. For example, in 2017 and 2018, selling a few pieces of art allowed me to travel overseas to participate in basketball camps and to see new places. Whether it is meeting new people, traveling to new places, or simply helping pay the bills, art has opened those doors. My hope is that I can cultivate talent in students so they are able to open up those opportunities for themselves as well in the future. "

Arts Education Throughout Kings County

LHS Arts Opportunities

This spring, students at Lemoore High School have had the opportunity to explore 1- and 2-point perspective in drawing to see how to give the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional paper. They also had the chance to go outside and draw En Plein Air to see how drawing outdoors differs from drawing in the studio. Next students practiced cartooning, and to finish out the year, they are currently doing portraiture through the gridding technique.

Corcoran High Arts Projects

  • Tessellation Project: Students read and answered questions about its history and Escher. Once the guided practice was completed and everyone grasped how the 3 techniques worked, students had to choose one technique (Translation, Rotation or Reflection) to execute their final artwork. Students gridded a 12"x18" paper by 3" to later transfer the desired design and color it. No color schemes were enforced and students selected the colors of their choice.


  • Fresco Hearts Project: Students practiced getting the proportions correctly on a separate paper to familiarize with the subject and later transferred the idea on the plaster that was painted using watercolors.
  • Michelangelo's David Project: Students practiced rendering David's torso, used black charcoal on white paper and later used white conte-crayon on black paper to study the forms and how value affects them with only one light source. Students ended up with 5 studies of David's torso and each using a different technique to execute the correct values.
  • Artwork by Sarai Chavez

JC Montgomery Stories with Style

JCM students wrote a collaborative rap piece for the Spring CUE conference to share the importance of arts education to support social-emotional learning needs. Their collaborative piece can be viewed below as well as an interview with one of the JCM students who participated in the project. The Stories with Style lessons written by Kings County Office of Education consultants Liz Norris, Ed Campos, and Morgan Tigert will be released for region wide use through the Highway 99 VAPA committee this summer.
Stories with Style Collaboration for Spring Cue 2021
Stories with Style Student Interview

Pioneer Middle School Pointillism and Pop Art

Seventh grade students at Pioneer Middle School have been studying pointillism, while 8th grade students have been studying Andy Warhol and the pop art movement.

Liberty in Full Swing

The Liberty Middle School Music Department has been in full swing since the Lemoore Union Elementary School District started in August of 2020. During their 1st trimester, students participated in distance learning through platforms such as google classroom and zoom. They submitted assignments on a weekly basis and participated with traditional band instruments and voice for choir.


After the Lemoore Union Elementary School District returned to in-person instruction at the beginning of November, state health requirements did not allow for students to play wind instruments or sing in person. The music teachers and district collaborated quickly to come up with a plan to fill the void of music at the middle school. The decision was made to offer all music students the option of learning a percussion instrument or Ukulele. The district gladly supplied the extra equipment needed to get this new program started.


Liberty Middle School now has 70 ukulele players and 40 percussionists and are going strong. Liberty has always offered percussion as a secondary instrument through winter percussion, an extracurricular activity. Due to the popularity of the ukulele, they plan on keeping it as part of the curriculum even after health protocols go back to normal. They will feature their students' hard work at their Digital Spring Showcase that will be available in mid May.


During recent weeks, the Liberty Jazz Band has been able to start meeting again. These dedicated students meet everyday before school at 7:15am. Due to health regulations, the band does practice outdoors. However, through the forward thinking of the school district, proper PPE materials were purchased early so when students were allowed, they could continue playing again immediately. Every student is provided with an instrument bell cover and a special face mask made especially for band instruments. Through this unprecedented year, the Liberty Music Department is keeping music going no matter what!

Liberty Middle School Spring Music Showcase Preview 2021

Akers Illustrates Goodnight Captain Mama

6-8th grade students at Akers Elementary created illustrations that were drawn for a video, musical presentation of a children’s book named Goodnight Captain Mama. The illustrations were set to the background of the Air Force Band presentation with narration. They also created portraits.

Congressional Arts Contest

Hanford West visual arts teacher James Case was selected to serve as a judge Congressman David Valadao's Congressional Arts Contest. We look forward to hearing about this experience!

Hanford High Spheres and Space

Students at Hanford High have been learning about the elements of space and shading. See below for examples of student artwork displaying these elements.

The Show Goes on at Hanford West

The Hanford West High School Musical Theatre production of "Regards to Broadway - A Musical Salute" will air three consecutive nights - May 12th, 13th, and 14th @ 7:00pm. Each night is a different show!

Here is the link to their trailer. https://youtu.be/BoTN0gmv_p4


The Hanford West High School Choir will also be posting new virtual performances on the HJUHSD Performing Arts YouTube Channel. Stay tuned for "Husky Summer Sing" events, when they'll be posting new virtual performances throughout the summer, starting the end of May!

Pioneer Middle School Band Prepares for Future Concerts

The Pioneer Middle School Band has been busy reviewing playing skills and learning more music to prepare them for the coming school year. Although they will not be able to present an "in-person" concert this year, they are looking forward to an Honor Band of select students presenting a virtual concert piece at the end of the month. The school's color guard will also participate. Mr. Bentley would like to thank the PUESD Administration and PUESD Band Boosters Club for their support during this difficult time.

Woodrow Wilson Virtual Band Performance

Four Woodrow Wilson Band students recently participated in the 2021 California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Virtual Music Festival. The festival format, unique to our time in Covid distance learning, allowed for students to send in a video performance that will then be evaluated by a CMEA adjudicator. The event, presented by the CMEA Central Section, was organized by Rob Bentley, CMEA Central Section Festival Coordinator and Pioneer Middle School Band Director.


All four Woodrow Wilson band students are 8th graders, four-year members of the HESD Band Program, and all plan to continue playing in high school. Participating students include Oscar Luna (Bari Sax), Abel Ramirez (Tenor Sax), Brandon Vasquez (Alto Sax), and Xinyu Yang (Clarinet).


HESD Performance Clip

Hanford High Art Pieces

See the galleries below for the following projects:


  • Art 1 Self Portraits, Warhol Color Schemes, and Perspective drawings
  • Ceramics pots, candle lanterns, and masks.
  • AP Art painting.
  • Art Club Homecoming display.

Shrek at Sierra Pacific

Sierra Pacific High School, part of the Hanford Joint Union High School District, will be presenting a virtual version of Shrek Jr, the musical. The idea came to them after Ratatouille, the TikTok musical, was released during the pandemic. It offered students hope after thinking that they would have to cancel the annual musical two years in a row. The students are extremely excited for this opportunity and to be part of SPHS' first ever virtual musical! The times for the show are TBA but it is expected to be done by the end of May.

VAPA Arts Resources for Educators

The VAPA committee has compiled a list of resources for arts educators.

The Kings County Office of Education VAPA website has resources and information about the arts in Kings County.

Next KCOE Arts Update

Kings County Office of Education will release our next arts update next fall. Submissions may be sent to Liz Norris. Districts and sites are responsible for verifying that photos may be publicly released. Photos should be submitted in groupings of three due to the gallery format of S'more. Videos of live performances may also be accepted.