Tag Archives: Idyllwild

Why SmARTs?

Three of the smARTs long-time volunteer/committee members and teaching artists, Joann Tomsche, Christina Nordella and Mallory Cremin were asked “why did you become involved in smARTs”? Below is what they had to say.


I started smARTS because I wanted my sons to grow up and experience a learning community where the arts are valued and important. I continued to work and play with an evolving group of committed volunteers, all of whom value the arts in education and in life. Witnessing and supporting creativity in children is joyful work. I’m so pleased to have been part of this program for 13 years.

– Joann Tomsche, Artist

Sharon Seibert, the then Kindergarten teacher at the time and Saffron Symank asked me if I would like to participate in a group to bring more art supplies into the classroom. Having both my youngest children attend Mountain Meadow pre-school with Denise Gioeli, which was an art-based curriculum, I believed in the importance of art in education.  There was no hesitation. However, although we successfully got the art supplies, art was still not happening in the classrooms. We adopted the smARTs name and began as a model for Sharon’s Art Friday class with the use of local artists and volunteers which relieved the overwhelmed teachers. The program started in just K-2 at the time.  It was wonderful! Now, the program has expanded to include all grades…a lot farther than anyone of us at the time could have predicted. Our school has become a recognized academic school largely in part to the smARTs program. I am proud to be so long a part of it. There is nothing more rewarding than sparking a child’s imagination and watching them grow and succeed and reminding them of the beauty of art which is really just a reflection of them! And I can’t thank enough all the volunteers and artists that have contributed all these years to making it into such a success. But I do hope all of them know deep within themselves how much of a difference they have made and are still making in our children’s lives and literally the future generations. Deep bow and gratitude.

Christina Lee Nordella, smARTs Volunteer Coordinator/ Artist

public school volunteer arts program, idyllwild

You ask why I got involved in smARTs. When they first asked if I wanted to get involved, I still had a child (Noah) at home. Cassius was in kindergarten. Cassius was getting lots of art with Mrs. Laurie Maxwell in kindergarten. When Noah entered school, Cassius was in second grade and not getting any art. So I started volunteering with smARTs, bringing hands on experience with different mediums to the classroom. I believe art encourages creative outlets in all areas from cooking and living, to interacting with other people, to appreciating our environment. I believe smARTs has helped the students at Idyllwild elementary grow in so many ways. smARTs is unique, because the community artists that support the program, while not following a traditional arts development of skills based learning, instead give the children a wide range of experiences and approaches.  It has been very satisfying, but frustrating because I want the public school system to provide the arts classes, during the school day, so every single student can be involved and experiencing art, not relying on overworked parents at special schools like ours. Finally, I want to thank Idyllwild Community Fund, ICF, for supporting the fabulous programs that enrich our town. Thank you.

– Mallory Cremin, Artist

Wine in the Pines, for the Good of Idyllwild, July 5th

Wine in the Pines POSTER_colorlogo-01-01Idyllwild has many nonprofits whose activities improve the life of the community. Some provide propane for the needy, some entertainment, some educational services, some art lessons and some disaster preparedness assistance. Only one, the Idyllwild Community Fund, has as its sole mission to provide grants to area non-profits to help them meet key project objectives.

Associated with The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, ICF Advisory Committee members are tasked with raising money to fund these grants. Most recently, ICF agreed to fund, for three years at $2,000 per year, the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers – a mentoring program for Idyllwild School 6th through 8th graders to teach philanthropy, how it betters the lives of people within their community, and to provide a fund of $4,000 annually for them to award to grant applicants whose missions serve youth. Youth Grantmakers are trained in reviewing grants and spend after school time over three months of training to become knowledgable about the process.

Because of this laudable new program and the need to fund it in addition to other fundraising obligations, ICF Advisory Committee members have added a new fundraising event. It is an auction with a twist featuring a fine wine bar, wonderful food and sophisticated music from Luc and Jac Jacaruso and Marshall Hawkins, our local deacon of jazz.

Community members are asked to bring silent auction pieces of value – from $25 to $300 or more. Items will be displayed during the event with bid sheets. When the item sells, contributors can elect to take 75% of the sale price, donating the remaining 25% to ICF and its mission of funding local nonprofit projects. OR, contributors can donate more than the 25%. Donating ALL would be appreciated. Three items per person. No clothing please. Also if the item has no bids at the end of the evening, contributors are asked to take it home.

Join us for an afternoon in the pines featuring:

  • a fine wine bar,  (a beer bar too)
  • a sumptuous food court,
  • a raffle of enormous proportions
  • a sophisticated  musical interlude featuring Marshall Hawkins, Marshall Smith, Jac and Lucca Jacaruso,
  • and a very special Silent Auction

Saturday, July 5th from 4-7pm among the Pines at Rainbow Inn.