An arts education nonprofit that hosts free art classes at community events has made its new home in Scappoose.
Husband-and-wife duo Jenna Reineking and Nick Patton started Tumblewheel Studios last year with the purchase of a used school bus. For months, the two remodeled the bus, slowly crafting an art classroom that they can drive from one workshop to the next.
The organization partners with existing events to offer free art classes to attendees. Over the next few months, Tumblewheel Studios will appear at the revived Sauerkraut Festival and annual car and airplane show, Wings and Wheels. Tumblewheel will run the kids section at the Sauerkraut Festival with different art projects throughout the day, including a cabbage head painting contest.
At the events, Reineking and Patton set up a canopy and tables outside the bus, allowing for far more participants than would fit inside. Art projects include printmaking, clay, painting, papier-mâché and more.
"We do a little bit of everything," Reineking said. "We try to pick things that people, once they learn about it, they could feasibly do it at home," Reineking said, adding that she likes to give out recipes for how to make your own clay or other art supplies.
"Our whole purpose is to bring arts education and workshops, free workshops, out into the community," Patton said at a Scappoose City Council meeting last month, where Patton and Reineking presented their application for a Community Enhancement Project grant. Tumblewheel Studios received just over $2,100 from the CEP program.
The partnership with Wings and Wheels came from Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge's suggestion at a City Council meeting. City Councilor Joel Haugen also recommended further partnerships and has been involved in conversations with Tumblewheel Studios since.
"There are so many organizations that we should probably be partnering with in the community. It's really exciting to see the kinds of projects that are coming out of the community," Patton said at the meeting after hearing from other community groups.
Reineking and Patton moved to Scappoose last fall after years in Portland, where they had both earned their master of fine arts degrees at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Scappoose "feels more like home," Reineking said.
"We both grew up in smaller places, and I think that's really where our hearts lie, in these smaller, tight-knit communities," Reineking said.
Compared to urban areas, Reineking said she sees more need for arts programs in rural areas.
"It has kind of amazed me how much funding has been cut for the arts. Even back in those areas, when I was a little kid we still had art classes. But now, schools, they've just been defunded so much."
Reineking and Patton have experience with sculptural and installation work. Their arts education has helped them develop skills in a wide range of mediums, but they hope to use connections from PNCA to bring in guest artists.
Tumblewheel Studios "is something I've been scheming for about 10 years," Reineking said.
"We've plugged away at it and we've actually come a really long way in the last year and a half," she continued. "We got our nonprofit status, we got (the bus) and remodeled the whole thing, we have been working with different schools and festivals. It's been picking up steam and it feels good."
"My hope is that we will continue to get more grants and government funding and be able to offer our services to more schools and places completely free of charge ... I don't want to have to charge these places because the money is not there. They don't have it," Reineking explained.
Art classes, she said, are "something that everybody should have access to. A way to express yourself, and it's a different way to communicate how you see the world. Students deserve to have that opportunity."
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