September 2011 Newsletter

Dear Creative Families, Friends, Artists and Colleagues, 

We are entering into an exciting phase of growth and collaboration here at Aimee Art Productions. More than ever, schools are seeking new opportunities to provide music, dance, theater and art for their students. Volunteers are stepping forward to initiate Art Education Programs in their own communities and parents are leading fundraising campaigns in places where monetary support is restricted or unavailable.  Languages, Science and Math have gained greater emphasis in our artistic curriculum and Teaching Artists continue to bring the quality and excellence of their craft into each classroom, preschool, family home and after-school setting.

What a wonderful time to be a part of Arts Education!


learning the steps  



New Schools

We are very excited to begin working with quite a few new schools this Fall.

Dahlia Heights Elementary

Puppet-Making – (2nd grade – 2 classrooms)
Playwriting  – (3rd grade – 2 classrooms)
with Mrs. Jasmine – tentatively set for Feb. 16-Mach 22nd (includes 8 classroom visits, 3 teacher meetings, teaching artist planning time and Culmination)
Benjamin Franklin Ave Elementary
Excel After-School Program with Language Immersion
Magical Drumming in French with Pashyo Sarkin
Tuesdays @ 1:30-2:30 (Kinder)
@ 2:30-3:30 (1st-3rd)
Spanish Movimiento! with Mara Bassani-Santamaria
Fridays @ 1:30-2:30 (Kinder)
@ 2:30-3:30 (1st-3rd)


Clifford Street Elementary
“Rockin’ Around the World” with Amanda Johnson

September 28th – November 16th, 2011

Wednesdays 3:00-4:00 PM Group 1 and 4:00-5:00 PM Group 2

Open to Grades K-5th


**And an exciting turn-out for our new program at Clifford!  A brand-new program, we were just hoping for 8 students to make it “go,” and this hope and hard work has turned into 30 students making it enough to add another class!!  We also have been able to offer 7 scholarships at this school and hope to continue to offer even more.

Glenoaks Elementary
September 29 -November 10, 2011
Drama! with Ms. Aimee (1st-3rd grade)
Thursdays 2:40-3:30pm
October 6th – November 17th, 2011
Hip-Hop! with Teacher Michelle (4th-6th grade)
Thursdays 2:50-3:40pm
Our Mother of Good Counsel School
September 30 – November 21, 2011
Rockin’ Around the World with Amanda Johnson
Mondays @ 3:15-4:15pm
October 3 – November 21, 2011


Scott United Methodist Church School
Preschool Music for ages 2-5
with Ms. Aimee and Kristen Herbert
Fridays 10 AM – 11 AM ongoing beginning Fri., Oct. 14th, 2011
Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center
Residencies in the Saugus Union School District in Santa Clarita coming up this school year at:
– Charles Helmers Elementary on Mondays for 6 classes of 3rd graders in Vocal Music from Oct. 10-Dec. 5th with Ms. Aimee
– Tesoro Elementary for 2 Thursday day-long One-Day Theatre Workshops with 3rd Grade and 5th Grade with Ms. Aimee, on Nov. 17th, 2011 and March 1st, 2012
– and Mountainview Elementary with 6 classrooms of 2nd graders experiencing Shadow Puppetry with Mrs. Jasmine Feb. 23-March 5th
And Classes are continuing as always at:
Children’s Playhouse, Camelot Kids, Glenfeliz Kids, Franklin Kids, Hancock Park Elementary, Studio A, King Middle School, Language Garden, Stone Soup, and more.  See our website for more details at!
Aimee’s Corner:  Building CHARACTER…How does Arts Education help?

aimee“Argh!” screams my 3 year old from her car-seat in the Citibank parking lot, as she rips the hair off her Tinkerbelle Barbie doll, pulls off its arms and legs, and sticks its head in her mouth. Her face turns red as she bites down on it and I swear I can see steam coming out of her ears as she tremors with rage and frustration. 

I take the doll head out of her mouth, buckle her car seat, hand her a piece of baloney and a sippy-cup of milk, and cover her with her favorite silky “baba” blanket. By the time I start the car, she is fine. No words were exchanged; we didn’t talk “about” it, but we both know she had a tantrum. She lost control for a moment.

As the adults in these situations, how we handle ourselves is so important. With my own children I can get triggered, and don’t always respond from my highest self the way I would like to. But in the classroom or studio, I make it a point to be aware that “I am the weather,” as stated so beautifully by Dr. Haim Ginott. “I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” So I set the tone for a positive attitude for learning. I cannot lose control of my emotions, and if a student does so, I am the harness that reins him or her back in, containing the vastness of these emotions and guiding his or her ship back to shore.

At Aimee Art Productions, our mission is to build self-esteem and literacy through the arts. Though we are required to spend time dealing with scheduling, logistics, spaces, financials, and long-term projections, our main focus has always been and still remains to be…THE KIDS. Their learning, their process, their joy. The “business” has always been and will always be, in service to the greater good and the larger goal – self-esteem and literacy through the arts. As Artistic Director and Founder of Aimee Art Productions, it is my daily task to remind myself, sometimes several times a day, to see the big picture in any given situation. Often, that includes tapping into my emotional intelligence to ask myself, “How is this child/parent/principal/teacher really FEELING? What is this really about?” Once I can get to a feeling level with any situation, I usually can see my way to the resolution of any conflict or challenge.

So much of our emotional health depends on self-esteem. This is an area which is hard to measure, but which good educators intuitively address.  In most public school classrooms there is often very little time allotted for such endeavors, it seems. Yet when we measure the success of adults, it often is not their test scores which determined their success; many times it is their self-esteem and ability to cope with obstacles and conflicts.

A recent article in the New York Times by Paul Tough entitled, “The Secret to Success is Failure?” discusses a principal at the prestigious Riverdale County School in the steep hills of the uppercrest part of the Bronx, a competitive and top-dollar private school where most students graduate and head to Harvard, Yale, and other top colleges and universities. Principal Dominic Randolph says that only 33% of students from the cutting edge KIPP middle schools, a network of charter schools in the South Bronx co-founded by David Levin, some of whom scored the highest in the city, didn’t make it through to graduate from a 4-year college. This beats the national average of 8% of students from low-income families graduating from 4-year college but doesn’t meet the 75% goal that KIPP schools had set.

Levin and Randolph together determined, with the help of Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, that it is not academic achievement that predicts success in life. It is the building of character. Simple statements on their classroom walls such as “work hard,” “be nice,” and “there are no shortcuts” are the slogans by which such successful students learned to live and to achieve.

Through failures and repeated attempts at success through experimentation, conflict resolution, problem solving and adventures with real-life, hands-on projects, successful students learn citizenship, bravery, fairness, wisdom, integrity, humor, zest, love and appreciation of beauty.

Another recent study by NORC at the University of Chicago, in which I participated as a Teaching Artist, researched the field of Teaching Artistry and its impact on education today.  This three-year long study found that “Teaching artists (TAs)-artists who make teaching a part of their professional practice as artists-are critical to the future of arts education and to improving the quality of schools.”  The most comprehensive study of the work of Teaching Artists so far, its researchers found that, “TAs have been major providers of arts education in community settings for over a century. In the last three decades they have become important resources in primary and secondary schools as well, where they have mitigated a long-term decline in arts education. In the process they have made significant contributions to making schools better places for students to learn and grow.Prior studies have provided strong evidence that arts education has powerful positive effects on student achievement and outcomes. NORC’s new study offers hope to schools struggling to preserve arts education programs and to policy-makers searching for effective education strategies to improve schools.”  Furthermore, Nick Rabkin, principal investigator for the study, states that, “careful analysis of student data and evaluation of arts education programs has shown that learning in the arts is strongly correlated with improved student behavior, attendance, engagement in school, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, social development, and, yes, even test scores.  The positive effects are most significant for low-income students. Given the data, art education should not be a perpetual candidate for funding cuts, but a core element of education reform.”  (See our donation opportunity below for students at King Middle School who need your support!)


Our Teaching Artists at Aimee Art Productions, and there are many like us nationwide, offer a unique perspective on both our art forms and on education.  We are an under-utilized resource which is only beginning to be tapped.  We make schools and homes exciting places of learning and creativity, reversing a pattern in arts education which was only for the privileged and the talented, pointing them toward advanced private instruction. We are democratic, dedicated, and work in a wide range of settings with a variety of age groups and demographics.  Our instruction is cognitive, student-centered, and social.  Though it is rigorous and contains multiple threads which connect to academic areas (reading, math, science, social studies), our work also accesses students’ emotional intelligence and builds their character in ways which traditional education cannot always achieve.

Tenacity, responsibility, courage, friendship, teamwork, self-reliance…these are character traits which our students must draw upon, build, and find within themselves in order to create their works of art.

It is these character traits that are built through the kinds of team-building, esteem-building experiences in the arts that our small but mighty little company provide. We are providing life-changing, transformative experiences for our students, which build self-esteem and literacy for a lifetime, whether it is a toddler recovering from a tantrum at Studio A in ballet-tap class, or an 8th grader acting in a STOMP! Heritage Play at King Middle School, character counts. Won’t you join us on our next adventure?


Upcoming Performances

Events to Look Forward to…  

Stay tuned for our
Music Recital on Sunday, December 11th at 2pm and 4pm at Mt Washington Elementary.
Dance Recital on Sunday, December 4th at 4pm at Mt Washington Elementary.
Franklin Productions of the One-Act Plays on Friday, December 2nd at 4:30pm performed by K-2nd graders andThe Nightingale on Friday, December 9th at 5pm performed by 3-5th graders both at Franklin Ave. Elementary School.
King Production of STOMP Heritage on Friday, December 16th at 6pm at Thomas Starr King Middle School.
As well as all culminations for our continuing classes at Hancock Park Elementary, Language Garden Preschool, Friends of Franklin, Mountainview Elementary, Charles Helmers, Dahlia Heights, Ben Franklin, Camelot Kids Preschool, Glenoaks Elementary, Glenfeliz Elementary, with the Stone Soup Child Care program.
See our website for more details.
Donations for King Middle School
Dear Families, Friends, Teachers, Community Friends and Arts Supporters,


We have a wonderful theater arts program at Thomas Starr King Middle School through the support of L.A.C.E.R. after-school programs, Friends of King and Aimee Art Productions.


This fall the students have begun production for…


STOMP! Heritage

Students create a performance from their heritage.  They will be sharing the stories of their families and ancestors through the art forms of Stomp body percussion, bucket percussion, poetry, text, chorus and poems.


King Middle School Students


This class is offered FREE to all students but due to lack of funds in the schools we are looking for your help.  In order for these classes to be sustainable, we rely on donations from our community including the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council, small businesses, grassroots organization and grants.


In addition to our fundraiser this fall we are asking if you would support us in a DIRECT DONATION fundraiser, in which you may contribute as much as you’re able to Friends of King, the organization that is making the program possible.  The suggested donation for each child is $100 but ANY AMOUNT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!  This allows us to pay our Teaching Artist, Mrs. Jasmine, and to cover the costs of our production, including programs, flyers, costumes, sets, DVD’s, and all administrative and scheduling time, energy and resources.


Won’t you consider sponsoring just one child, a child you may know, to do this great program?  The cost for one child is $100, but we will accept any portion of that as a contribution toward his or her growth.  These programs build students’ self-esteem, increase their literacy, nurture teamwork, and encourage safe and responsible behavior in middle schoolstudents, which translates into all areas of their lives.


Research shows that programs like this improve and transform young people’s lives forever:  “Arts therapies may have their greatest impact on youth. They do not bear the stigma of therapy and can accommodate the intensity of the adolescent experience. The work of youth tends to be autobiographical in nature, which renders the self revelatory value of the arts therapies even greater. Identifying and addressing problems before the age of 10 may prevent lifelong agression, substance abuse, and risky health behavior. ”  –  Ms. Ping Ho, M.A., M.P.H. And executive director, UCLArts and Healing.


To make your donation, you may;

1)  go to our website,, click on Pay For Classes, enter donation amount and put in your memo that it is to Friends of King.  Another way is to

2) send a check with your child, made out to Friends of King, to Drama class any Friday from 3:30-5 PM at King

3) Another way is to email us and let us know your intended amount, then you can mail a check payable to Friends of King to Aimee Art Productions at 2433 E. Glenoaks Blvd. Glendale, CA 91206 or to Friends of King at their address, 2173 Cedarhurst Dr., LA 90027.


We began our class Friday, Sept 16th and want everyone (up to 30 students) to know they are welcome in the class, at no cost. Anything you can do to help us on our way will be greatly appreciated.


We will be holding the following fundraisers as well:


Butter Braid Bread Sale – buy a bread before Oct. 12th from your favorite King student for $12 and $5 goes to our Drama program


Halloween Carnival – Sat. Oct. 22nd from 2-6 PM at King — our students perform at 2:30 and will hold a makeup booth too!


Field Trip – Complimentary tickets for our students to EEK at the GREEK! at the Greek Theatre on Sun. Oct. 30th from 5:30-9 PM — Symphony in the Glen performs songs from Psycho, staged reading of Poe’s The Telltale Heart, and more


Shakey’s Night – Thurs. Oct. 27th at Shakey’s 5170 West Sunset Blvd., LA 90027 (323) 663-2145 — 20% of proceeds go to King Drama


Car Wash/Bake Sale – Sat. Nov. 5th 2-5 PM at Silverlake Community Church 2930 Hyperion Ave., LA 90027


We are excited about offering this program at no cost to students, but we need your help!


Won’t you join us in building self-esteem and literacy through the arts this year at King MIddle School?



With warm regards,

“Ms. Aimee”

Artistic Director, Aimee Art Productions

Summer with Aimee Art Productions

Mr. Marlborough Summer School  

This summer quite a few of our teachers brought their expertise to Marlborough Summer School to explore with their students the art of dance, musical theater, rock bands, creative writing, visual art and so much more.  Here are some of the pictures from a great summer.

Marlborough Picnic Camp Mustang
Summer Camp Theater
With another fabulous opportunity to perform and play, this summer’s series of One-Act Plays, in collaboration with Franklin Kids and Sandi Picazo (with Megan Gaspar, Nette Gold, and more!) at the Silverlake Community Church, was a great success. Students came together for a one-week intensive of drama, dance, music, costumes and set design to learn and perform this show for family and friends.  What a blast!  We had some Franklin Avenue Elementary alumni, students, and some new friends!  It was a great mix of talents and we had a terrific time.
NEW!! Winter Camp with Franklin Kids and AAP


A Theatre Fun and Winter Craft Camp with Franklin Kids and Aimee Art Productions
with Michelle Hanley, Ms. Aimee, and good friends from Franklin (Ms. Ruzanna, Sandi, Nette, Lorinda)
Coming up also at the Silverlake Community Church,
2930 Hyperion Ave., LA 90027.  December 19th – 23rd, 2011.
You may sign up for:
9 AM – 1 PM – $200
9 AM – 4:30 PM – $225
Enrichment classes only – $75 each
Daily Drop-in’s – $40 for 9 AM – 1 PM and includes craft enrichment
Rate includes 2 tickets to show Fri. 12/23 at 4:30 PM
Extra tickets can be purchased for $5 each
Sibling discounts are available for $25 off per child
Limit 30 participants.
Includes holiday crafts, dance workshop with Teacher Michelle, Lunch, Playtime, Knitting, Theatre rehearsal (Mr. Saint Nicholas), gingerbread houses, and more!  Culminates in theatre performance and art show.
Please make check payable to Franklin Kids.  Email Aimee for more info at

Thank you for building self-esteem and literacy through the arts!

“Ms. Aimee”

Aimee Hopkins

Aimee Art Productions

Buy One Get One Free
Bring a friend to class or purchase one music lesson or dance class and get another class for FREE.
Offer Expires: November 11, 2011


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Aimee Art Productions | 2433 E. Glenaoks Blvd. | Glendale | CA | 91601


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