6th, 7th & 8th Grade Elective Classes

Digital Photography

Students will learn the basics of photography and photo editing in this class. Specifically, we will focus on photographic composition, exposure, processing, lighting and computer editing. Techniques used in portrait, landscape, macro and photojournalistic photography will also be taught.  The school will provide a few cameras but it would be extremely helpful for students to have their own digital camera, with manual controls, to use for this class.  Bring your cameras on the first day of class!

Gwendolyn Lyons has experience as both a photographer and teacher.  She taught high school science prior to starting her family and has been passionate about photography since childhood.  Gwendolyn is ecstatic to bring her love for photography and teaching to this photography class.



Students taking this class will learn the actor’s process using a toolbox of essential techniques. With a “practice by doing” philosophy, students will work in the new theater space with lighting and sound capabilities to learn technical theater skills as well as acting technique in character objective, obstacle and tactic. Students will perform in the January showcase with integrity and passion by bringing reality to the stage and humanity to characters.

Danny McCammon is a local comedian, actor, writer, and producer, and co-founder of Best Friends Club comedy troupe and “Kate and Danny’s Drama Camp” for youth. Danny is an alumnus of Sacramento Comedy Sportz and recently studied at the Chicago Improv Olympic.


Modern Jazz Fusion

This class will explore many different dance styles under the umbrella of jazz and modern. Creating a multi level class where students will learn basic dance techniques, choreography, flexibility, body awareness, counting music, and the love for dance. We begin classes with warm ups, pliés, stretching and sit-ups, then we move across the floor. Students will be required to dress appropriately for class; this will be discussed on the first day of class.  The class will perform a piece of choreography at winter Showcase in January.

Aubrey Puetz was born and raised in southern California and came to Nevada County nearly 8 years ago with her husband. She dances with The Movement Alliance Dance Theatre Company. She also teaches dance at Bitney College Prep High School. Her time is divided amongst rehearsals for dance and choreographing for theater productions in the community. Aubrey is a member of the local production company Synthetic Unlimited.


 Stop-Motion Animation

Have you ever wanted to see your imagination come to life?  Learn to create short stop-motion movies, with a soundtrack to fit, using simple stop motion techniques, storyboards, cameras, and software. Working in groups you will use hands-on art and miscellaneous materials, 2D & 3D, as well as yourselves, to create visually unique and innovative players, backgrounds, and scenes. We will also be adding music (by an artist you love or even something you yourself have written) to your creations, adding the element of timing, emotion, highlighting, intensity, and weight, through sound.

Gabriel Clark began teaching at NCSA in early 2011 and now instructs the 4th–5th grade creative movement classes, the 4th and 4/5 general music classes, as well as the upper grade Beginning Trumpet, Swing Jazz Band, Advanced Guitar, and Stop Motion Animation electives. Gabriel began his musical career in upstate NY and moved to California at the age of 21 to teach in Vacaville, CA, where he instructed bands, choirs, and orchestrated multi-class performances and musicals. He received his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. He has, since, also studied and taken classes within the Orff Schulwerk tradition. Aside from music, Gabriel also has a background in the Healing Arts.



We have a wonderful opportunity to enhance the beauty of our school buildings this semester with murals that will be placed near our classrooms at upper campus.  Students will be learning about artists from throughout history and from around the world as they reproduce famous works of art.  Students will also learn basic techniques for mural creation as well as how to work with a group to create large works of art.

Faith McCloud has a Master of Divinity and studied Art as part of her undergraduate work at George Fox University.  She has developed a unique style of collage that is bold, intricate and colorful, and it is her medium of choice for her own artistic expression.  Before becoming an “Artist is Residence” at NCSA, she volunteered time teaching art to students of all ages, while also managing all the other adventures life can throw at us.  She is fascinated and in awe of humanities ability to create and is amazed to think about how art can inspire, transform, comfort or even convict.


Introduction to Watercolor

This class is designed to introduce students to the art of watercolor. We will explore a variety of techniques, brush uses, paper quality, and color theory in order to aid in the creation of diverse projects. The class will begin using a limited color palette and slowly add more colors as the projects increase in complexity. The class will render images from still life compositions, illustrations from magazines and abstract creations. We will also look into the works of contemporary artists such as Carol Carter and John Salminen as well as those of more familiar ones such as Georgia O’Keeffe, John Sargent and some of the Renaissance masters to aid in our compositions.  We will use some of their work as inspiration for our own and devise compositions based on our imagination. There will be a lot of trial and error work and some of the possible “mistakes” we will make may eventually turn into modern masterpieces.

Andrea Conte was born in Cordoba, Argentina and got her B.A. in Studio Art from the Universidad Nacional De Cordoba in 1998 as well as a degree in Graphic Design from the Colegio Nacional de Monserrat. After moving to the U.S. she graduated Summa Cum Laude at CSU Chico with a B.A. in Art Education in 2003. She received her teaching credential and a Master of Arts in Education from Chapman University in Sacramento in 2005. Andrea has been teaching at NCSA since 2004.