The name “Larissa Marantz” may ring a bell. The artist received a fair amount of media attention in January 2008 when her painting of newly-elected President Obama was selected to hang at the Manifest Hope exhibit in Washington DC during the Inauguration. Or you may have spotted her name on the cover any of a number of Rugrats, Lazytown, or Avatar: The Last Airbender children’s books. An LCAD (Laguna College of Art & Design) instructor, published cartoonist, and owner of OC Art Studios, Ms. Marantz is currently focused on another upcoming project: lessons plans for young art students. Beginning January 28th, she will be teaching the children of Nohl Canyon Elementary School in Anaheim Hills how to draw and cartoon.
Ms. Marantz teaches the classes as part of Nohl Canyon’s After School Enrichment Program, which is run through their parent group, Nohl Canyon School Association. For an affordable tuition, children participate in classes ranging from fitness boot camp to musical theater to video game design. This will be Ms. Marantz third session teaching children in the program; the classes have proven to be among the most popular offered.
“My goal is to give children an environment where they can learn how to channel their imagination into art,” says Ms. Marantz. “It’s an honor to show them how they can turn the ideas in their heads into actual drawings on the page—drawings they can be proud to show their friends and family.” Every young artist is welcomed and encouraged to attend; Ms. Marantz’s lessons can be adapted to different skill levels.
How did Nohl Canyon secure Ms. Marantz to teach its students? Actually, Ms. Marantz came to them. She was already teaching children’s drawing classes at OC Art Studios, which she owns and operates out of a large studio in her Orange home. Over the last several years Ms. Marantz had noted with dismay that state funding for public education was being cut drastically. Programs like art and music were often the first on the chopping block. As an artist and mother of two Nohl Canyon children, she wanted to help fill the gap created by the loss of art classes.
“It is so important to expose children to art,” says Ms. Marantz. “It helps them grow as individuals. Through art, they learn to look at things from a new perspective.”
The first Nohl Canyon session in spring of 2008 was a success, with parents and children giving Ms. Marantz’s class great reviews across the board. Soon, parent support groups of other schools clamored for similar classes. Ms. Marantz was thrilled to help. In addition to teaching at Nohl Canyon Elementary, Ms. Marantz offers drawing and cartooning classes at Villa Park Elementary, Serrano Elementary, Oakridge Private School, Chapman Hills Elementary, Tustin Memorial Academy and Villa Park Community Center through similar after-school enrichment programs.
Ms. Marantz has been featured in the Orange County Register, 13 Minutes Magazine, and the Foothills Sentry. To see examples of student work, visit: http://OCArtStudiosGallery.blogspot.com. To learn more about OC Art Studios and Ms. Marantz: http://www.ocartstudios.com.