This spring proved to be a productive and rewarding one for some young local artists.
Woodburn High School art students Cesar Galindo, Ivan Cruz, Destynie Morrison and Genesis Molina submitted artwork that was accepted into Western Oregon University's ArtFest Regional 2022.
WOU Art Department Head Daniel Tankersley said the school reached out to high schools and community colleges throughout Oregon, to invite student artists to exhibit their work the Monmouth campus. The exhibition was on display from May 4-18.
"Students submitted artwork through an online application process. The submissions were juried by WOU faculty," Tankersley said. "We were extremely impressed by the range and quality of the students' work. Paula Booth, our gallery director, coordinated with the artists to get the work to campus, and WOU students helped install the exhibition in the gallery at Hamersly Library."
Tankersley said 22 students from nine different high schools participated, sending in art from two WHS academies as well as Central High School (Monmouth-Independence), Lebanon High School, McMinnville High School, Philomath High School, South Salem High School, Sprague High School and West Albany High School.
Six community college student artists participated from four different campuses: Linn-Benton Community College, Portland Community College Cascade, PCC Sylvania and Umpqua Community College.
"On May 18, nearly all the ArtFest Regional artists came to WOU campus for a closing reception," Tankersley said. "It was an amazing gathering. My colleagues and I had a wonderful time meeting the artists and talking with their friends and family. We're very grateful to these students for sharing their creative work with us at WOU."
Galindo, a student at the Academy of International Studies at Woodburn High School, won the faculty recognition award for his sculpture called "You're Very Mature for Your Age," Tankersley said. "It's a human figure holding an umbrella, sitting next to a suitcase."
Galindo, a junior, created his artistic piece from discarded materials, such as wood scraps, cardboard, newspaper, stickers, recycled castoffs reworked into a work of art that speaks from the heart of his experiences and those of youth who are cast into an adult world at a precious young age.
"Those materials tell such a vivid story. The construction is intricate and ingenious. It's a compelling, personal, astonishing work of art," Tankersley said.
"This sculpture reflects my life as a child growing up in poverty," Galindo said.
Earlier this year he told the Woodburn Independent that he grew up in multiple households as his father, an immigrant still learning English, wrestled with the challenges of working and raising a family.
"I found myself working with my father, a janitor, at the age of four. We could not afford proper care while my father worked," Galindo said. "We could not afford toys; I entertained myself by creating fantasies with little cardboard men. We could not afford the life that he so desperately wished for me to have."
Galindo viewed his early upbringing as a boon. He learned he could help his family, and he learned he could empathize with others who endured similar experiences.
"Because of this, I was urged to understand my role in a less fortunate household," he said. "There were a lot of things, which I have come to realize in the past years, that have resulted in several emotional barriers. My motive for this sculpture was to shatter those."
WOU art community active
Tankersley noted that WOU has a very active art exhibition schedule with multiple professional artists exhibiting on campus each term and a steady rotation of student shows throughout the year.
"There are large galleries in Campbell Hall, the Instructional Technology Center, Werner University Center, and Hamersly Library. Several smaller galleries are scattered throughout campus," Tankersley said.
Each May, an exhibition of the year's best art and design work by WOU students fills the Cannon Gallery in Campbell Hall. An outside juror selects the work, usually a professional artist or curator.
The 54th Annual Juried WOU Student Art & Design Exhibition is open now and runs through June 9. This year the show extends into a second art gallery in the Instructional Technology Center, a brand new gallery, opening this year, dedicated to WOU student art. It was built during the recent renovation of the ITC Building.
"ArtFest also included a tie-dye party," Tankersley added. "We handed out new WOU Art & Design T-shirts and stickers (custom designed by WOU students) and had materials ready for people to tie-dye the shirts on the spot.
"Many of the high school artists from the ArtFest Regional show took part, alongside current WOU students. We scheduled the ArtFest Regional reception and the opening of the WOU Student Art & Design Exhibition opening for the same day so people could see both."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.