Art Program

Fine Arts

All first through sixth-grade students receive weekly formal art instruction.

We are excited to introduce our talented and creative art teacher, Sara Leo. She has been a wonderful asset to our specials rotation at Adams, where our kids feel empowered to express their creativity every day. Sara continues to inspire and encourage her students and we feel very fortunate that she's a part of our Tiger community!

All TK through sixth-grade students receive weekly formal art instruction for thirty to fifty minutes, depending on grade level.

Interview with Ms. Leo

What do you love most about being an art teacher?

It is an absolute dream to be able to share the joys of creating art day in and day out with the children! I love seeing the confidence and delight that art can bring to them. I help each child learn to take his or her ideas and create a tangible piece of art using a variety of media. It’s amazing to see how their understanding of line and pattern, color, shape, form, value, texture, and space develop over each year that I have them. Not only that, but to see how they are able to develop their own individual styles over time is rewarding. I know that having a strong foundation in the visual arts will also impart life skills including critical thinking and problem-solving and that the art room is a safe, risk-free zone to take those chances and to try out new methods of doing things.


When are you happiest in the art room?

I’m happiest in the art room when I see the students blissfully engaged in the artistic process, so much so that they don’t want to stop making art when the timer goes off! This happens in kindergarten, when children are experimenting with new media, all the way up to sixth grade when they are “in the zone” with painting or collaging. Some days I have to pinch myself that I get paid to share my own love of playing with paints, pastels, ink, clay, and more with 600 young people over the course of a week at Adams! It’s a special feeling when any one of the students runs up to me in the hallway to share that they’re excited about coming to specials classes that week or to say that they loved a particular project in art class. I feel lucky that I get to be such an integral part of the joy in their childhood.


Can you share an experience that defines you as an art teacher?

Having worked as both an instructor and the interim creative director of the summer camp at my local arts center over the past nine years, I think the experience that comes to mind is that of witnessing the power of growth over time. I’ve had students that I’ve known at camp since kindergarten who are now entering high school, taking positions of leadership in the community related to the arts. They were campers turned camp counselors, and young, timid artists turned poised participants in our public teen mural project in later years. I know that I have had an impact on these students’ lives by opening up their creativity and giving them a window to seeing the possibility of art as a career, in addition to encouraging a lifelong passion for the arts.


What do you envision for the future of the art program at Adams?

Since finishing my first year at Adams, one of the biggest highlights was the enthusiasm that my fellow specialists had for collaborating on projects together. I know that Mr. Larsen and Mr. Federbusch have wonderful ideas and skills that can integrate well with the processes that happen in art. Besides our Día de los Muertos celebration and our Maker Faire, there are a few new experiences that students will look forward to this year that are in the works in relation to both music and design! I also hope to encourage more family and community participation in the art room once we are able to come back together again. Students will continue to have the opportunity to gain age-appropriate experiences with many media types—drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and fiber arts. We are so fortunate to have access to the arts in the Santa Barbara public schools!