Arts & Enrichment

FanGlobe-300x199Enrichment Programs Add Excitement to Academics!

In addition to enhancing the educational goals of the children and schools through homework assistance, tutoring, and reading programs, Stone Soup contracts with guest artists to introduce the students to a variety of forms of music, dance, drama, and visual arts while incorporating customs of various cultures.

With leaner education budgets and the focus on Common Core, many schools have eliminated enrichment activities and reduced physical education time. Research finds that participation in the arts gives children a reason to like school better just as sports participation does.
Aimee Young Hopkins of Aimee Art Productions has provided some of Stone Soup ‘s outstanding Southern California professional artists for many years. Through her, this year Stone Soup contracted with instructors who scannedArt_017-300x202taught guitar and songwriting, magical drums, Irish dance drama, music through the ages, and rhythm instruments. Other classes included cultural dances, party dance, yoga, and tai chi. Northern California programs incorporated dance instruction, music, and martial arts into enrichment activities.

Stone Soup involves the children in eight week workshops in drawing, visual arts, music, theater and dance to expand their creative expression and critical thinking skills. In working with professional artists children begin to realize and value their own creativity.

Every child is unique; what excites one youngster may not speak to another. The enrichment program includes an array of ways kids can learn to express their artistic selves.

Stone Soup has gathered a collection of remarkable, dedicated artists and performers who continue to give generously of their talents for the betterment of our children.





Guest Artists Bring the Arts to Life!

A few of the very talented artists we work with are:

Aimee Art Productions. Founded by Aimee Young Hopkins, M.A. the production company gives high quality, enriching student workshops in theater, music, dance and the visual arts to build self-esteem and literacy among inner city youngsters who have little access to the arts. Worksho
scannedArt_020-300x198ps are held and are given by trained teaching artists; some of these artists are:

Máire Clerkin is from London of Irish parents. Following in her mother, Sheila’s footsteps, Máire became a certified Irish dance teacher / adjudicator with Irish Dancing Commission, Dublin. She ran her own Clerkin School of Irish Dancing in North London 1980-93. Graduating from Middlesex University in the Performing Arts, Máire co- founded dance theatre companies, The Hairy Marys and later Clerkinworks, with her sister Angela, touring the UK and Ireland extensively. She trained as a broadcast journalist and presented on BBC TV and radio before moving to California in 2003. Máire gained a Professional Designation in Arts Education with Los Angeles County Arts and the Los Angeles Music Center Education Division. As a leading exponent of Irish Dance education, she has lectured at University of Limerick, Ireland and Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. She coaches and adjudicates internationally and completed teaching tours in Australia 2006 and 2010.

Previous choreographic credits include London’s Royal Festival Hall, Royal Opera House, Theatre Royal, Radio City Music Hall in New York, Edinburgh Fringe, Brighton Comedy and Dublin Street Festivals. Within the Irish Dance world, Máire Clerkin is in high demand having enjoyed great competitive success. Sarkin is originally from Vienna, Austria and studied dance at the “Weiner Volksoper.” Her love for foreign cultures led her to study African dance and drumming. Being a world traveler she has been teaching African drumming and dance in Berlin, Germany; in Montreal, Canada; in Poona, India; and now here in Los Angeles. She performs with her World Music band, “SangomaBeat.” See her website for Magical Drums at and for her band,

Kristen Lynn Herbert is a professional working actor in Los Angeles. She holds a BFA in acting from WVU and has extensive training in various styles of theatre and performance. Kristen teaches: Piano, Guitar, Voice, Theatre, Improv, Cooking, Stage Combat, Dance and Movement.

James Klopfleisch is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and teacher living in Los Angeles. He received his Bachelors degree in music from Illinois Wesleyan University and his Masters from California Institute of The Arts, and has toured extensively as a performing musician. He studied classical bass with Peter ROFÉ with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed all over the U.S. and Europe. Originally from Chicago, James has taught extensively in both Chicago and Los Angeles, has performed at REDCAT, the Civic Opera House in Chicago, The Grand Ole Opry, and on the Queen Elizabeth 2 Ocean Liner. He has been awarded several grants for his composing work. In 2011 his experimental theater piece Landscape #4 was premiered at the ‘Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in Prague’, the worlds largest gathering of scenic designers for theater.

Patrick Gutman is an accomplished and talented pianist and composer. He holds dual dscannedArt_018-229x300egrees in both Piano Performance and Music Composition from Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music. He has been playing the piano since he was 8, and has performed at many venues, concerts and competitions. Some of his achievements include: Winner of the M TAC (Music Teacher’s Association of California) Southern California Adult Piano performance competition. As a composer, Patrick has always had deep interest in expressing himself through composition. His music is often introspective and full of expressive musical content. He enjoys teaching piano to students and is currently an instructor at California State University, Northridge and earning his Masters degree in Music Composition.

Amanda Johnson has taught hundreds of students since 1996. In 2012, she entertained on some cruise ships to add to her musical experiences so that when she came back home to teach private lessons again, she would have a whole lot of traveling out of the way. Since January 2013, she has been teaching private lessons again at Academy of Music and Movement and at Mike’s Guitar World.

Odeya Nini is a vocalist, composer, mover and educator. Originally from both New York and Israel, she majored in theater at the Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts in Tel Aviv, Israel, continuing on to get her BFA in vocal performance at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, and her MFA in Composition from California Institute of the Arts. Her practice as a vocalist draws from her experience of studying musical theater, classical, jazz and contemporary voice. Additionally, her work is informed by dance and years of studying and teaching yoga, mixing movement with voice to find novel forms of expression.

Odeya’s work has most recently been presented at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as part of the Wild Up residency, a Los Angeles based contemporary orchestra and collective. Her current solo project, A Solo Voice, has been performed in the United States and internationally.

Kiki Hecox, Dance Stylist is a veteran with more than 30 years’ experience. She has taught Stone Soup kids for nearly 25 years. Ballroom, swing, waltz, tango, cha cha, Country Western line dancing, calypso and Afro-Cuban dancing are all in her repertoire. She has won dance awards at the MGM Grand and Stardust Hotel competitions in Las Vegas as well as the Disneyland Hotel. Ms. Hecox uses dance and performance to teach children about other parts of the world and to respect other cultures. In the process, their self-esteem grows through performing — in costume — for parents, school staff and community.

City Hearts, an innovative arts program founded by Bob and Sherry Jason, has served Stone Soupers over 15 years introducing children to all art forms, dance, visual arts, drama, music, photography and theater. Through the discipline and healing of workshops and performances, City Hearts provides positive role models and inspiration to disadvantaged children, especially those who may be at risk for gangs and drugs.