• Student art decorates walls of district office

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    Among the art on display at the district office (from left): "Self Portrait in News Paper" by Sasha Colon of Grant High; "Citrus Gothic" by Natalia Peterson of Grant; "Winter Bird" by Amiayah Lambert of Laurelhurst K-8; and "Henri Rousseau-inspired Tiger" by Annie Walter of Laurelhurst.

    Visitors to the Blanchard Education Service Center might be in a hurry to get to a meeting or have some business they want to attend to immediately. But we encourage anyone visiting the Portland Public Schools’ central office to pause and look at the walls.

    There you will some amazing artwork created by PPS students, from every grade and age.

    Artwork is displayed in the main foyer, and upstairs in the hallways that lead to the administrative offices and human resources. Pieces are rotated several times a year.

    Each piece has a placard that identifies the student-artist’s name, name of the piece, school, grade and teacher. There is also a brief explanation, typically written by the teacher, on what the piece is and how it was created.

    For example, for a piece titled “Citrus Gothic” by Grant High School senior Natalia Peterson, the placard by teacher Melody Rockwell explains:

    “These works are based on using pop-culture imagery in a fantasy or dream like way and is an inked illustration project. Pop-Surrealism is a modern movement rooted in the Southern California Low-Brow culture from the ‘70s and ‘80s. This work is intended to create a strong emotional response. The project also focuses compositionally on using lines, shapes and color to create a visually balanced work.”

    The range of artists’ ages shows a wide diversity of artistic development, and some of the most striking pieces were created by the youngest artists. For example, there is “Winter Bird” by Laurelhurst School second-grader Amiayah Lambert. From the placard by teacher Hanne Duncan:

    “Students created this mixed media project by using black tempera paint to create a birch tree forest using a plastic card to smear paint on paper. Then, they used oil pastel to create implied texture for the body of the bird, the wings, head and tail, and painted with water color. Students collaged the work together to create a bird in a winter, birch tree forest.”

    If you would like to see examples of the displayed art, the PPS Facebook page has a sampling of pieces by elementary students and by students at Grant High School. Or better yet, next time you have business in the BESC, arrive early, or allow time after your business is done, and check out how Portland’s Arts Education and Access Income Tax has helped develop the city’s young artists.