Charbonneau Arts Festival benefits WHS students
A giant papier-mache octopus mask sat on senior Edwardo Navarro's table at the Charbonneau Arts Festival during the weekend of Nov. 3-5. Originally painted black, he wasn't satisfied and painted it, mixing crimson, orange and yellow colors. He did this in front of people standing in awe at the different art on display.
Navarro wasn't the only Wilsonville High School art student showing off his work. There were 45 works entered into the show and about 180 photographs. This, mixed with art from Canby High School students and several professional and amateur artists, made for a successful weekend.
"It is critical that we have public exhibitions so the public sees the validity and importance of art education," said Christopher Shotola-Hardt, art director and art teacher at WHS. "That show I like because so many of the visitors to the festival have no connection with public schools so it's a huge advocacy piece for us."
The Charbonneau Arts Festival — in its 34th year — was hosted at the Charbonneau Country Club during the first weekend in November, and all proceeds went toward the
art programs at both high schools.
Two years ago, WHS received about $1,500 and last year, the school received about $1,000 to benefit its art program.
"It really helps," Shotola-Hardt said. "That enables kids to participate in opportunities that help further their art. For example, Scholastic Art Award fees or if there's a special workshop or artist in residence that I will bring to work with students."
Junior Eleanor Karrick liked showing off her art because of the personal boost in ego she receives. She also said she enjoyed receiving a dose of reality — seeing what people really know about art.
"I don't get many chances to see what the world really thinks of how art goes except for the First Thursday field trips (and) just whenever we have an art show," Karrick said. "It was good to get feedback and hear people's first reactions to what we do."
Navarro had a similar take on the show. He valued the compliments but said he hoped there was a little more critique. But he also found that the festival offered something unique: inspiration. After seeing professional artwork, he was inspired to try different mediums.
"It gives people ideas for the way to produce work for the public, how to price things, how to present," Shotola-Hardt said.
While the art program won't know how much money was raised until December, Shotola-Hardt sees the value in the event itself.
"If we were a school where we just checked in, did our clocked hours and left, and no one ever saw the work, when it came time for difficult decisions about budget cuts, these areas — because they're electives — would be cut," Shotola-Hardt said. "But if it's out in the public, it's valued and people know WHS has a stellar art program that is very intellectual, academic and excellent preparation, that's going to ensure that art education continues in our school district and that's through a lot of effort on our part — that's a value."