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Meet the People Behind the August-September Creative Arts Classes

First row: Shaankari Ravulaparthi, Maia Le, and Aditya Chakka

Second row: Kyna Tyagi, Colin Saltzgaber, and Chelsea Lingao

QuaranTunes has opened another round of creative art classes for August and September! We took an inside look at what it took to create these classes by interviewing each of the six teachers and the Chief Creative Arts Coordinator and shining a spotlight on their unique contributions and experiences. You can also check out some of their amazing artwork below!

Helena Warner - Chief Creative Arts Coordinator

A lot of work goes behind the scenes to make sure QuaranTunes provides quality and engaging classes to the students. Helena works with the publicity, technical, and communication teams to spread awareness about the creative art classes and introduce teachers to the process. We interviewed Helena to learn about her perspective of the classes, QuaranTunes, and the hard work that goes into everything.

What makes the creative arts classes at QuaranTunes special?

I think [being on Zoom has its] … positives and negatives. The positives include [its flexibility], as everyone can go from their house you can use your own materials. I feel like having flexible hours … is a lot more beneficial than having a really strict agenda, at least that's just my philosophy. … It obviously kind of sucks … we can't be there with the kids and teach them art. [But] … during the times of COVID, [Zoom] was a necessity and I feel like it's really great to continue because of this convenience.

How was the curriculum created?

Each teacher creates a curriculum for [their] class. It's very based on their experiences, how they've learned in the past, and how they think would be [the] best [way] to teach kids. … I taught an art class before… and I thought the freedom of being able to choose my own curriculum was really great so I've kind of continue that on with the new classes. I don't really like implementing a strict curriculum for each teacher to follow. It's very flexible.

What were some takeaways from the last round and how will it impact the future of creative arts classes?

They take quite a bit of planning because you have to get all the teachers on board and … get enough to really have a good number of classes. In the future, I [want to reserve] myself more time for that and [teacher outreach]. [In my] the first round, we only had like five teachers which is a place for improvement. Now we have like [six] teachers which is great. And I just want to continue moving up and again I plan for a lot more time for recruiting teachers, reaching out to more schools, and allowing time for signups as well.

Shaankari Ravulaparthi - Exciting Writing

Fridays from 1:00-1:40pm PST, 8/27/21 - 9/17/21

Shaankari from Richmond, Virginia loves writing out of the box. Throughout middle school, she has taken creative writing electives to constantly improve her craft. You can check out some of her work here, which includes a piece called Space Poem and a short story called Ladder to Earth. We interviewed Shaankari about her curriculum, her passion, and what she is looking forward to as a QuaranTunes teacher.

How and why did you get started with creative writing?

Since fourth and fifth grade, I got an interest … because I just found it so cool how whatever you think in your mind, you can display on a piece of paper … [and] make anything possible.

What inspires you? What do you usually write about?

My favorite thing to write about is fantasy because ... you can write anything. I like fantasy books too like Harry Potter and JK Rowling books, and that's [what inspires] … me.

Why QuaranTunes?

So I knew about QuaranTunes when my sister told me. I thought it was cool how it's free virtual lessons where kids don't have to come in person. It's really cool how the teachers at QuaranTunes make learning really engaging, without much stress, unlike school.

Can you walk me through the process of creating the curriculum?

The main thing that my class was about is to think out of the box and make the impossible possible. … I don't want to stress students about spelling, or that I wanted them to think about how you can write whatever you want. … The idea of [the curriculum] was each day I would do a new thing, let's say one day it’s nonfiction or one day it’s fiction, and then it keeps building up, and at the end, you can combine everything to make something that you love, instead of focusing on just one thing. [When you look back at] … everything … it's just so fun [and] that's [actually] how I got my interest.

What do you look forward to the most for this round?

To see what the students think of. Not everyone thinks of the same thing, Let's say I … like poetry, the best, but [it’s] not for everyone. Some people could be best at nonfiction. So … I'm excited to know … what all students … come up with, what they like the most, and what they're the best at. And then everyone could share their ideas together and then it would be so cool to know everyone and their writing style.

Saturdays from 10:30-11:10am PST, 8/28/21 - 9/18/21

Courtesy of Maia Le

Maia, a junior at Palo Alto High School, has always been interested in arts and crafts. Combined with her love of teaching kids, being a creative arts teacher for QuaranTunes seemed like the perfect opportunity. We interviewed Maia about what inspires her to create and how her own experience influenced her curriculum.

How did you discover your passion for arts and crafts and painting?

I think it really started when I was younger. I've always really been into art. I feel like it's a really fun way to express yourself and be creative. … It's just really fun and it's like an easy way to relax or unwind but also engage your mind a little bit.

What inspires you to create?

I think really anything, like a feeling or just nature because I like to paint and draw and sculpt a lot of things from nature like animals [or] plants because I think that nature's really pretty. Also, I think adding an element of emotion to art is pretty cool.

Why did you decide to become a creative arts teacher?

… [Over] quarantine, I was trying to figure out a way to teach art to kids because in the past I've taught ceramics in person, or I've taught like little arts and crafts to like elementary-school-aged kids, and I thought it was really fun, but there wasn't really a way to do that during the pandemic and I found QuaranTunes because my friend was doing the music aspect of it.

Can you walk me through the process of creating the curriculum?

I was trying to think of the projects that I most enjoyed when I was little. When I was younger I really liked when we did painting or when we worked with different materials. … I was also trying to think about since it's over Zoom, what people had at their houses. So I tried to integrate things like straws or paper, or table salt into the paintings or into the little crafts to make it more easily … accessible to get the materials because of the curriculum I planned has paint and stuff in it [that] not everyone has. I wanted to make the rest of the materials easy to get.

What are you looking forward to the most for this round?

I'm looking forward to getting to know kids or what they like to do with art because then I can build the projects around what they like to do. And I think it's really important to integrate what the kids are interested in so … you can really customize them. [For example,] … I'm doing paint splotches and you can make them [into] whatever character [you want]. I'm also doing marble paintings which you can customize as a kid and I think … a really important thing for kids is choice.

Aditya Chakka - Anime Art

Sundays from 11:00-11:30am PST, 8/29/21 - 9/19/21

Courtesy of Aditya Chakka

@cop_vans Instagram

Aditya is a junior at Dougherty Valley High School that has taken advanced art classes. He even has his own Instagram shoe customizer business (@cop_vans). As a QuaranTunes teacher, he can’t wait to share his knowledge about art with kids. We interviewed him about how anime has influenced his art and what he is planning to teach in his class.

How did you discover your love for anime? Your passion and talent for drawing?

My love for anime started when I was in third grade. I don't really watch much TV … but then I found my first anime. And then I thought [about its] … life lessons [that were] taught [to] me over the years. And then, now that I'm in high school, I wanted to connect it to my artistic ability. Putting it on paper gives me a lot of … joy.

What inspires you while drawing and customizing?

The inspiration is the connection I have to the characters because they're very relatable and the authors [do] … a really good job of making it emotional. So whenever I draw, I draw from [that].

Why QuaranTunes? Why teach kids?

Until high school, I didn't really know I had a passion for teaching. Usually, I go to the park and then I see little kids playing basketball or sometimes my friends asked me for help on homework and then I try to [help] them. I feel like teaching is very important to me because I want people to … grow.

Can you walk me through the process of creating the curriculum?

The first thing any artists needs … is free creativity. On the first day I usually have [students] draw whatever they want. … From there, I just teach them fundamental techniques [and] … easy tricks from and then show them online tutorials that they can use.

Kyna Tyagi - Draw Cartooning

Sundays from 11:00-11:30am PST, 8/29/21 - 9/19/21

Courtesy of Kyna Tyagi

Kyna is a sophomore at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, California who will teach a class that centers around drawing characters from comics, TV shows, cartoons, and movies. We interviewed her about her art style, her favorite characters, and curriculum!

How did you discover your passion and talent for drawing?

I used to take art lessons when I was a kid, and even when I stopped, I still really like drawing. … What inspires me is whenever I have free time [and] want to create something cool, but also simple.

Speaking of simple, why cartoons?

I did try the more complex sketches and I found that pretty boring and I didn’t like it. I'm just gonna stick with cartoons because a lot of people could relate to them … [and] bond over cartoons.

How did you form the curriculum?

My age range is pretty young (6-10). At that time kids still spend a lot of their time watching TV. And during [this] time, we watch cartoons that we still remember later on in life. So I chose some characters kids would really like and I'm like, hey, we'll draw these throughout our lessons.

Do you have a specific example of a character you’d like to draw?

Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb! I really loved the Perry when I was little, so that'd be pretty cool and Spongebob is my favorite character.

Colin Saltzgaber - Intro to Photography

Thursdays from 5:30-6:10pm PST, 09/02/21 - 09/23/21

Courtesy of Colin Saltzgaber

Colin, a senior at The Nueva School, has accumulated a wealth of experience in photography, both as a passion and a competitor. He made sure to make his class accessible to all students. All you need is a digital camera or smartphone to take breathtaking photos. We interviewed Colin about why he chose photography to express himself and what his curriculum looks like.

How and why did you get started with photography? What inspires you?

My passion for photography began at an early age — I grew up working and learning alongside my grandfather who is a professional photographer so I was always observing and watching him take photos. I am a lover of nature and the outdoors so growing up I would always bring a camera along with me on hikes, road trips, travel, etc., and document my journey. I love taking photos of wildlife and animals, as well as simple compositions that are found in almost every setting.

What does photography mean to you?

I think the opportunities for composing a photo are endless — there are no right or wrong ways to photograph objects/animals/landscapes and that to me is the beauty of the art. That’s what makes photography so special.

Why QuaranTunes? Why teach kids?

I found QuaranTunes in early May of 2020 and began my work with the organization as a drum teacher. When art classes were announced, I was very excited and led my first one in June of 2020. The organization as a whole is so amazing — giving back to the community, especially during the pandemic, is so important. And for me, I wanted to give these children who were interested in photography a chance to learn at a young age which was when I was exposed to this art as well.

Can you walk me through the process of making the curriculum?

Creating the course was actually super fun — I got to include a ton of my personal photos and take some additional ones to provide examples for all the concepts I teach during the four-week course. Honestly, I just wrote down everything I know and have learned about photography and then organized it into a logical order to present. The biggest thing I made sure to include were examples and visuals so that a) the kids could see practical examples and uses of the techniques and concepts being discussed and b) so it wasn’t a boring presentation and thus more engaging. For me, my goal was to have the kids walk away from each class with excitement and new tools added to their photography “toolbox”.

What do you look forward to the most for this round?

I’m just excited to lead yet another class. This will be my third with QuaranTunes and I’m hoping that the class will be a nice break from school HW and a way for kids to improve their skills in photography

Sundays from 12:00-12:45pm PST, 9/5/21 - 9/26/21

Courtesy of Chelsea Lingao

Chelsea is a high school senior from Pasadena, California, and loves creating. Drawing, sculpting, painting, making costumes, you name it. A strong advocate for expressing creativity freely, she will be teaching a drawing class for this round that centers around characters. We interviewed her about her experience learning art, how those experiences influenced her class, why QuaranTunes, and what she is like as an artist.

How did you get started with art and creating?

It was always a part of a curriculum at school [where] we'll just have a few days to do art. I just always had fun doing it. So, … I was like, why not continue doing what I like doing?

What inspires you to create? Do you have a theme?

My inspiration really comes from anywhere. It's just whatever comes to mine. I remember one of my pieces. It was this lady with a pigeon head, and then my teacher asked me what was the inspiration behind this and I was like, I just wanted to see it.

What can students expect from your class and curriculum?

I never really designed any curriculum before … where [everything] was … me. I want this to be applicable to anyone at any level. Some of the activities that I put into my curriculum I've done in my classes before since I know they really helped me [and] other people to [get] those brain juices flowing. I want it to be not very restricting since art is such a free kind of thing. … I'm hoping [students] … can feel a sense of freedom and creativity.

Do you have any specific examples of activities you did in your own art classes that helped you?

There was a particular activity we did actually recently in my art class [where] … we started just doing a brain dump and we just started writing things that came to mind for like 10 minutes. We [then] circled words that resonated [or] stood out to us [and create from there]. I wanted to do that specifically with [my] class … because art can really come from anywhere.

Why teach at QuaranTunes?

I didn’t know QuaranTunes until I was searching [for volunteer opportunities] … with art because … I really want to get into community service … during quarantine. And I saw [QuaranTunes’ creative arts classes] and I was like, yeah that sounds like a cool experience that I also want to be a part of.

What do you look forward to the most for this round?

I really look forward to seeing [what] the students [create] at the end. I want to see the process … evolve in their minds. It's so exciting to see them just unravel themselves into their art.


Make sure to sign up for QuaranTunes creative art classes to learn from and have fun with these talented, passionate teachers!

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Aug 31, 2021

I love all blogs, but this is one of my favorites so far!! I really enjoyed learning about each of the creative arts teachers 🤤

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