At the art center, teachers illuminate children’s creative exploration by encouraging dialogue and documenting it alongside the project. At the end of the program, students and parents can see the interests and imagination that inspired each piece.
Gail Tarantino, Lead Teacher
Gail Tarantino holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and has been engaging children in the creative process at SFCAC since 1991. Gail is a visual artist whose work has been shown at Fouladi Projects, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, SFMOMA Artists Gallery, the Oakland International Airport, and Kala Art Institute. Her work is also included in a number of Bay Area private collections.
“My role as an art educator has deepened my appreciation of the varied learning strategies and relational aspects embedded in children’s thinking. Being an active participant in witnessing the creative spark that children emit is an experience that I treasure. After two decades of supporting children’s creative ideas, I continue to be smitten with their poignancy of language, the visual impact of children’s representations and the associations they make while looking at each others project work. Each child’s aesthetic choices are so particular to their own unique way of absorbing the world around them. Being an observer of the multiple possibilities for invention that children utilize is an endlessly enriching time spent in the SFCAC studio. Listening to what sparks a child’s curiosity has a co-constructive component; taking cues from their ideas and developing projects that inspire the unique viewpoints of each art maker.”
Thanks to the generosity of an art center supporter, Gail traveled to Italy to attend Reggio Emilia study tours in 2001 and 2003. Additionally,thanks to the support of the SFCAC Board and SFCAC parents, Gail was able to participate in Summer Conferences hosted by the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance in Calgary, Alberta Canada in 2006, and an upcoming 2016 Summer Conference in Toronto, Ontario.
Erik Parra, Lead Teacher
Erik studied painting at the University of Texas at Austin and received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and began teaching at the Art Center almost ten years ago. He has exhibited in numerous places, including New York, Chicago, and Brazil. He has also lectured, garnered residencies and awards.
Jennifer Castillo, Programs and Operations Manager
Jennifer Castillo is originally from Los Angeles and received a BA in Art History from Humboldt State University. Her past work include mentoring middle school students in the Creativity Camp at Inner-City Arts in Downtown LA, working with high school students in the Education Department at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, master students at Dell’ Arte International a theatre training school in Northern California, and most recently on the @Large:Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz and WOMEN:New Portraits by Annie Leibovitz exhibits. Jennifer is continuously striving to nurture her passion and interest in the Arts through the work that she does, which is why she’s thrilled to come aboard the SFCAC family, where she can continue to be of service to the community and contribute to making the Arts more accessible to people of all ages and from all walks of life.
For more on our teachers or program, visit our arts program page or phone us at (415) 771-0292.