|Living the Dream!|
Leslie's a professional Storyteller. This is NOT reading. It encompasses plot, character, and improv and sometimes music. Leslie has also been commissioned on occasion to write and perform original stories (sometimes fiction, sometimes biographical) for conventions, anniversary parties, retirement parties, roasts, etc.
Photo caption: Teaching Leave No Trace to preschoolers as part of the El Dorado National Forest Service Volunteer Program.
Leslie offers many programs for classrooms throughout Northern California and occasionally for the public.
Leslie teaches (watercolor) at Taste of the Arts hosted by Amador Arts Council. She also teaches watercolor for various 4th Grade classrooms as part of Amador Arts visiting artists Project. Contact Leslie for a list of classes, programs, and public speaking topics.
"Woooah" and "Wow!" are common expressions when Leslie enters the room and they are repeated when she starts painting. Students instantly forget they are learning and often walk away energized with profound thoughts. With her passion and personality she embodies the magic of art in her "performance lessons" but it all stems from vast amounts of behind-the-scenes research and experience tempered with inherited teaching skills (she is the daughter of two teachers - a Teacher of the Year for the State of Nevada and a "Students Choice").
She selectively pulls from her background in nature, science, art, and storytelling combined with the curriculum and the specific needs of the students to make each visit a performance which is simultaneously entertaining, captivating, dynamic and most importantly highly educational to get those creative juices flowing in the children so they can transition easily between their logic brain and art brain functions.
"Leslie does wonderful art projects with the students," said Mike Delaney, 4th Grade Teacher and President of the Teachers Union for Amador County, "She brings her knowledge of Science and History to those lessons. She has also worked with my students on hands-on science projects. She is an asset to any class she works with and I highly recommend her."
Photo Caption: Teaching art in the classrooms to 4th graders as part of the Arts Council's Watercolor Project. They asked her to wear her face paints to help inspire the children.
Classes can be either a theatrical story-telling performance, or an art demonstration, or a workshop where students paint with her and take home artwork they created. Your choice.
To cater to your classroom's individual needs, she will ask a few quick questions when you call to book her. And she offers supplemental materials to teachers wishing to continue this interactive learning experience afterwards.
"My view ... is that the arts are essential for training specific, visual, perceptual ways of thinking, just as the '3 R's' are essential for training specific, verbal, numerical, analytical ways of thinking. I believe that both thinking modes -- one to comprehend the details and the other to 'see' the whole picture, for example, are vital for critical-thinking skills, extrapolation of meaning, and problem solving." ~ Dr. Betty Edwards, Professor Emeritus and author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Photo caption: Telling the story of Sequoia to 3rd graders.
Beyond Art. As a multi-dimensional artist, Leslie likes to incorporate more than one art-form often combining story with music with fine art but also weaving different parts of the curriculum together all at the same time. For instance her performance of Sequoia integrates science and nature of the massive trees with history of the Native American man they were named after and the alphabet he created. But her story goes beyond these factors to touch on human compassion and perseverance in an unkind social world. A multi-dimensional presentation of a multi-dimensional human experience everyone of every age can relate to in whatever way they are ready to take it in.
As mentioned earlier Leslie credits her teaching ability to her parents (both retired teachers). Her mother was Nevada State Teacher of the Year and her father won the Students Choice Award and is an excellent storyteller. She also credits her ability to captivate an audience to her work at the Black Chasm Caverns and to her storytelling mentor Elizabeth Gibson who she met through the Volcano Theatre Company's Beatles Workshop in 2009/2010.
Leslie has told educational stories to classrooms of school children, musical fiction stories to theatre audiences (often accompanied by her husband guitarist Dave Vasquez), birth stories at conventions, and personal stories about the "couple of honor" at 50th-wedding anniversary parties. Sometimes she combines fine art, story and music for profound performance art experiences.
"In the history of inventions, many creative ideas began with small sketches.... Galileo, Jefferson, Faraday, and Edison." ~ Henning Nelms, Thinking with a Pencil (NY: Ten Speed Press, 1981)
Artwork appearing on this website is the copyright © property of Leslie Vasquez and is protected under the International Copyright Laws.
These images may not be reproduced, stored, or altered without the written permission of the artist. All rights reserved.