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Mariposas Art

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Music, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Mariposa''s Art provides after-school art and music programs and community workshops that focus on developing leadership and social skills, addressing key health issues, and promoting academic success and career development.  

Geographic areas served: Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County

Programs: In Art & Guitar Teach, high school students engage in teacher training coupled with lessons in art or guitar. Each lesson plan has been designed to support the California State Board of Education's Content Standards for Visual and Performing Art. Together with a Mariposa's Art facilitator, who is a professionally trained artist or musician, our high school teachers travel to elementary and middle schools weekly to teach art or music to students attending local schools that lack funding to support arts education during the regular school day.

Art and Guitar Teach are teacher-training and mentorship programs through which high school students receive minimum wage for their hours teaching, earn elective credits, and gain valuable work experience. Elementary and middle school students receive critical exposure to the arts and gain positive teen role models to emulate.

Our high school students teach art with a Mariposa's Art facilitator to provide elementary school students with culturally rich art projects that explore different mediums, traditions and techniques. Each art project is accompanied by a lesson that includes the history of the medium, artist, and culture that is being explored. All Art Teach programs culminate in an art show where students share their artwork with parents and staff.

The high school students in Guitar Teach work with a professional Mariposa's Art facilitator to teach middle school students to read and play music from cultures around the world. Students also have the opportunity to earn their own guitar through high attendance, completion of practice logs, and performance participation. Each Guitar Teach program culminates in a special music performance by our students for parents and the school community.

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Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mariposa's Art shares joy, inspiration and practical life skills with the youth in Watsonville. I can really see the positive powerful impact of Mariposa's Art when I teach the program. Last year at the beginning of the year I had a student who was very shy and would become easily frustrated with her art. She sometimes would not finish the project. We worked with her and offered her lots of encouragement and opportunities to connect with her peers in a positive way. By the end of the year she was laughing with her friends in class and showing off the art that she made, proud of her accomplishments. I really witnessed her relationship to her self expression transform.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Mariposa's instructors are very positive, high energy and patient - even when faced by challenging behaviors from at-risk youth. They are talented teachers and artists who strive to broaden horizons of their students through a creative exploration. The range of activities they offer wide-ranging, everchanging and high quality.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

After having stumbled upon a Fundraising Concert for Mariposa's Art, at the old "Java House" downtown, I applied for an art teaching position at Mariposa's Art. Mariposa's Art is local Not-for-profit here in Santa Cruz which had a position open working with at-risk youth, specifically 8-10 yr. old girls in San Jose and Pajaro Valley. Having had my own Mural Painting business for 4 yrs., I was at a point where I needed a change of career. Art and painting was my life but I had also been working as a Substitute Teacher for some time, on days when I didn't have mural painting clients. So, having the opportunity to combine my work with kids and art.. full time... seemed like a dream come true! It has now been four years since I applied for my position at Mariposa's Art, and I am now the Elementary School Coordinator in charge of setting up and over seeing Five School Sites where we teach after-school programs throughout the week. Our Executive Director, Theresa Stevens is the most appreciative woman I've ever worked with. What a gift, to influence children and expose them to not only art, but to expression and personal artistic freedom as well! Mariposa's Art is designed to teach students how to work in a safe environment, learn about themselves, speak up in class, and work well in groups. Our "Art and Leadership" classes are designed for third to fifth grade girls and boys, and consist of four eight-week program cycles which focus on understanding key health issues; expanding leadership skills; making positive choices; and exploring art, music and dance. There isn't an elementary school position within the state of California which could offer me the opportunity to teach such topics. Everyday when I leave the classroom I am lucky enough to feel that the children in our class are changing, and for the better. That I myself, and my co-workers are influencing the leaders of tomorrow, and that we are actually helping to create change for a better world. Considering that due to State Funding most, if not all art classes are being cut from Junior High and Elementary Schools across California- we are lucky to still have a chance to let our children express themselves. Mariposa's Art makes that possible. Please join me in helping to support Mariposa's Art and the children that we work with.