Chehalem Valley Innovation turns to NHS graphic design students to decorate an interior space

GARY ALLEN - Newberg High School sophomore Ryan Harber applies a graphic decoration to the Cache Room at the Chehalem Valley Innovation Accelerator last month. Harber won a contest in teacher Tyson Lunden's class to design the decorations for the room, which were then manufactured by Newberg-based Phat GFX.

Last year, the Chehalem Valley Innovation Accelerator (CVIA) challenged graphic design students at Newberg High School to create artwork for the windows and walls of an interior room it refers to as the "fermentation tank."

Winner Geoffrey Carstensen's artwork for the wall and six vinyl window decals was installed last summer. CVIA staff were so pleased with the project that they revived the contest this school year, asking teacher Tyson Lunden's students to create designs for the adjoining "cache room."

After presenting design parameters and whittling down entries to a few finalists, sophomore Ryan Harber's design was selected.

Unlike the year before, though, Harber and several classmates helped install the vinyl graphics for one wall and three windows, which were produced by Newberg company Phat GFX.

Owner Phat Voong and employee Kyle Puma oversaw installation March 16 and said they enjoyed the opportunity to interact with students and teach them some installation techniques. With their help, the process was quicker and smoother than last year, too.

"I'm excited for next year to see what they'll do," Voong said. "They came up with some pretty cool designs. Our industry needs people like that."

Lunden, who had about 60 students in two classes participate, said it was an especially good learning opportunity.

"They were nice enough to come into class and present the project as a client," he said. "So the students had a real-life client come in and they weren't just designing something that they think is cool, but needed to design something that fits the needs of their client."

The students had to make their designs complement Carstensen's and received feedback from CVIA staff after each round of design review.

"I just made it a lot more simple and made the themes of each window go together," Harber said. "Originally, some of the themes in the windows were contrasting."

CVIA board member Julie Marshall, who works in marketing at A-dec Inc., said she enjoyed the whole process, especially because it allowed her to interact with the next generation and to experience being the client for a change. She said they will hold the contest again next year to decorate one more adjoining room, which also features three windows, through which the vinyl decals can be seen from inside and outside.

"They have a lot of questions and I'm always amazed when you open up the PowerPoint and there are 60 designs in there, just how creative and varied they are," Marshall said. "They did a very good job of narrowing it down so that it's spot on. It lines up nice with our brand and what we want to do here, just getting everybody together and collaborating."

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