Questions inspire students’ expression
If you could change anything in your life, your community or your world, what would it be?
While studying the events that led to the American Revolution, eighth-grade students at Oaklea Middle School explored that question with an artistic lens and merged their visual responses into a colorful story “quilt,” which displays images of interlocking hands, references to homelessness and symbols of other desired changes.
Students at Cascade Middle School embraced an artistic outlet to explore a different question: How can we express our identities through symbolism, color and text?
The eighth-graders chose symbols, color and at least one word to create self-portrait masks using principles of design, the cultural significance of color, and peer feedback to design and refine their masks, which each look deeply into identity.
The quilt, masks and student works from five middle schools will be displayed Friday night at the Broadway Commerce Center, the second of five main stops along the First Friday ArtWalk.
A monthly event organized by the Lane Arts Council, the First Friday ArtWalk is an arts-focused guided walking tour that stops at several locations where people can hear from artists, view new exhibits and explore different galleries and venues.
The April walk will begin at the Lane Community College Downtown Campus, 101 W. 10th Ave., where a showcase of visual, performing and culinary arts will be presented.
Sculpture, ceramic, pencil, print and multimedia works made by fine and media arts students will be displayed while students in the music, dance and theater programs do live performances. Culinary arts students will be preparing dessert.
Following, the tour will stop at the Broadway Commerce Center, 44 W. Broadway, where the middle school student works will be displayed.
“People might think, ‘Oh, it’s artwork made by kids,’ but they are actually all really powerful works,” ArtWalk coordinator Jessica Watson said. “And the ArtWalk doesn’t usually highlight student art, so it’s really cool that the first and second stops this month are doing this.”
At the next stop, an innovative combination of stained glass and textile works made by Greta Latchford, will be shown at InEugene Real Estate, 100 E. Broadway.
Latchford combines stained-glass mosaic, textiles, collage and fabrics to create symbolic works that illustrate a personal and universal process of individuation.
Following, an array of landscape and seascape paintings by Portland-based artist Erik Sandgren will be shown during an artist reception at Karin Clarke Gallery, 760 Willamette St.
The gallery is exhibiting “Land and Sea,” which includes nearly 40 of Sandgren’s paintings done primarily in watercolor and acrylics on panel, through the month of April.
Finally, the tour will conclude at MECCA, 449 Willamette St., where the results of “Object Afterlife,” an art challenge that gives artists a mystery box of unwanted materials, a MECCA gift certificate and two months to create, will be shown.
Voting will take place as viewers admire works meant to explore the space where artistic discovery and conservation meet, leading people to think about the materials that are commonly considered waste.
Aside from the five main stops, more than 20 venues, groups and businesses are open during the walk, sharing performances, food, conversations and everything among the arts.
“People aren’t always comfortable with going into galleries and looking at art, feeling like they might not have anything to add, but this monthly tour really creates an engaging opportunity to go with a group and do that,” Watson said. “It’s a wonderful tradition that values art in our community.”
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