As a kid, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater found himself doodling in the corners of his school books.
“That was me, making a flip book,” he said. “Drawing in my book when I should have been reading.”
Years later, Streater still loves art and Monday in Santa Rosa, he was the star attraction — along with Snoopy — for a group of southwest Santa Rosa students on an art field trip to the Charles M. Schulz Museum.
Streater, who joined the Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012, established the Rod Streater Foundation last year, which provides opportunities for children to experience activities related to technology, culture and the arts, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Many of the 29 fifth-grade kids from Garrett Cuneo’s Roseland Elementary School’s Leadership Academy didn’t know who the 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver was before Monday. But they were won over by his easy smile and willingness to jump in and share a slice of pizza or talk drawing with them.
“As a kid I always loved art,” he said. “I just wanted to figure out how to introduce kids to art and interact with them, go on field trips or just hang out with them.”
He handed out T-shirts with his foundation’s motto on them — “Where’s Streater? Catch Him Here, There and Everywhere” — and toured the Peanuts artwork and memorabilia with the students before settling down for a group lesson in stop-motion animation.
Streater, a native of Burlington, N.J. who attended Temple University, took a few art classes while at community college and knew it was something he wanted to pursue further. He has about a year left at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s online program to earn a bachelor’s degree in digital art and game animation.
He’s not sure exactly what he’ll do with it after football.
“I don’t know, maybe work for Disney,” he said.
Francisco Della Luz, whose parents Francisco and Susanna chaperoned the field trip (and also received autographs on their Streater Foundation shirts), sat at the same table with Streater.
“Any artists at the table?” Streater asked as they shared pizza and soda in the Warm Puppy Café before heading to the museum next door.
Francisco, 10, and the pro athlete chatted about video games and skateboarding.
At the stop-motion animation exercise, Streater was challenged to draw something using only two words for inspiration: cat and pencil. With liberal use of an eraser, he sketched an angular feline-shaped drawing implement.
“I’m better at video game art,” he conceded.
As far as football goes, Streater said the Raiders’ team energy is positive under new head coach Jack Del Rio and the young arm of second-year quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders downed the Chargers 37-29 Sunday.
“We have three wins, so that’s better than the past few years,” he said, predicting a few more victories this year. “It’s a long season. Anything is possible in football.”
Streater’s visit coincides with a special exhibit at the museum from Dec. 16 to March 23 called, “It’s Fall, It’s Football, Charlie Brown,” which highlights Charlie’s persistence despite Lucy pulling the football away at the last second each time he tries to kick it.
The museum is also readying for attention as “The Peanuts Movie,” the big-screen debut of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, opens in theaters Nov. 6.