Sausalito Art Festival Fuels Educational Art Programs

Marilyn Macket, Dana Climi, Virginia Simpson-Magruder and Ellen Franz. Art teachers at MLK school in Sausalito.

The Sausalito Art Festival is always a good idea Labor Day Weekend (August 30-September 1); 260 artists from across the country, continuous live music by headline performers on two stages, fine wine, beer gardens, great festival food and incomparable people watching. It’s also all for a good cause.

In addition to raising money for student art scholarships ($28,000 this year) and funding grants for community art projects, the art festival funds an innovative new program in Marin County schools called Artists Teaching Art (ATA).

Artists Teaching Art is an arts education program developed to serve students K-12 in both public and private schools throughout Marin. The ATA program brings professional artists directly to the classroom to inspire students to develop their creative habits: imagination, critical thinking, risk taking, reflection and to express their creativity in innovative ways, through collaboration, cooperation and communication.

Participating schools, teachers and professional artists collaborate to create a variety of artist-in-residence projects designed to inspire children to think differently about core subjects such as math, science, history, geography and literature.  In the first full year Artists Teaching Art partnered with eight schools, completed 20 art-in-residence classes, created thousands of works of art involving 500 students, 22 classroom teachers and 14 artist teachers.

Projects have ranged from book-making to film, mural painting, mosaics and ceramics. The 3rd grade students of Willow Creek Academy wrote, filmed and edited two videos. The first film documented restoration of Sausalito’s Willow Creek and the creation of a mural they painted. Both the mural and the video integrated art, history and science lessons learned. The second film was in collaboration with Educational Tall Ships in which the students documented the history of Sausalito through the many vessels and ships that influenced the Sausalito water front.

As art programs are continually cut, especially from public schools, the ATA program has been a huge success with students, teachers and the professional artists who are participating.

For more information and success stories about this remarkable program that is funded by the Sausalito Art Festival Foundation (including proceeds from the art festival Gala), please visit