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Woodburn Arts and Communication Academy students received 28 Gold Keys in the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School senior Ari Macrum discusses pieces of her Mixed Media Senior Portfolio, 'Shame,' which was a Gold Key recipient among the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards. Macrum stitched together the primarily black-and-while blanket on the wall before her, made of 365 tiles."Shame is like being barefoot in a room where everybody is wearing shoes…But in reality, everybody is barefoot."

That is how Woodburn High School senior Ariyonna "Ari" Macrum described not only the emotion, but her mixed-media senior portfolio, "Shame," which is among the 28 Gold Key recipients from Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy students in the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards.

An expressive, candid conversationalist, Ari said her body of work comes through a reflection of what everyone holds inside. Working with telephone-book pages, the project included an arduous task of stitching together a 365-piece blanket, predominately black and white, with each canvas square symbolizing what we hold inside each day of the year.

"Shame is part of dealing with a lot of things every day that people like to hide, but really everyone is dealing with it…we are not alone," Ari explained.

By the time she had created the first 100 tiles for the piece, she realized the undertaking was much more laborious than what she expected at the onset. But the sensation of finishing it was a good feeling. Ari said she tends to hold a lot inside, heavy thoughts, and her expression through art enables her to transfer those feelings "so I don't have to hold it anymore."

Ari also pointed toward her mother, Angela Chapman, as an inspiration and impetus to her work. She describes the single mother of four as one who did the work of "two-plus people" raising her kids alone since Ari was age 2 and her brother, Kyle, was 4.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School senior Ari Macrum displays pieces of her Mixed Media Senior Portfolio, 'Shame,' which was a Gold Key recipient among the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards.

"Looking back on it, it was such a weird way to grow up," Ari said. "I thought everybody just had a mom, then (attending school) I learned that people actually have two parents – a mom and a dad?"

Art came to Ari in a surprise fashion as well. She never thought about it too much, until the summer between her freshman and sophomore year when she attended "JumpstART," an art camp and Oregon State University, and the community of peers there inspired her.

She recalled: "Being around them, that's when it just clicked – 'Yes, I can do this!'"

Ari has her eyes set on continuing to do it; next year's plans see her enrolling in the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.


Sophomore Ollie Knolson said she thought so little of her submission that she was half-hearted about turning in the paperwork. In fact, she didn't even think she submitted it correctly – and really didn't' care.

"All my art sucks, no one's going to like it," she declared.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School sophomore Ollie Knolson shows her untitled painting, which was a Gold Key recipient among the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards.

Then her painting received a Gold Key.

"This just started out as a bunch of watercolors in a sketchbook," Ollie said, adding that the painting is untitled.

"It's really just about how isolated I felt," she explained. "Looking at it now, I think it's really bad – the technique and the figure in it. But that's okay, because it's just an experiment."

Ollie described harsh times growing up as a child, to the extent that she felt lonely.

"Growing up I felt isolated a lot, for a long time I felt like it was just me, stuck by myself," Ollie said.

Her description seemed to mirror some of what Ari also described within the context of "Shame."

"Ari and I are real similar," Ollie confirmed.

"You have to be really vulnerable to create art about things you really feel," she added.

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School junior Zoey Benevidez displays her drawing & illustration, Justice & Liberty for ALL, which recieved a Gold Key from the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards.


Junior Zoey Benevidez said her Gold Key artwork, "Justice & Liberty for ALL," featuring an American flag, topped with a pointed finger and a bandaged hand, depicts the marginalization of the voices -- perhaps even the inalienable rights -- of minority groups on a national scale.

"It feels like here in America nobody can have equal rights (in the current political environment)," Zoey described the message she conveys through her work. "It feels like Hispanics and people of color don't have as much say anymore with the president that we have now."

She cited other elements, such as police brutality, and said that is why she had the wounded hand in the work.

Zoey also submitted a Silver Key piece within which she is arguing with herself -- three faces in a triangular arrangement. She described it as being deeply personal.

"I would say this is the first art piece that is really related to my life," Zoey said. "It's almost like my conscience, and I feel like my conscience has been overpowering my mind."

Curiously, while Zoey's self portrait and description may elicit thoughts of Sigmund Freud's id, ego and superego, there is another interesting parallel: Zoey is part of a brood of triplets.

"I'm a triplet; I was the second born," she said. "It was like my sister Mya, then me, then my sister Jordan," she explained.

"I can be bugged sometimes, but Jordan is the more 'mean' one," she jested, "and then Mya is, like, more chill. And I just don't know where I stand."

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Among the Woodburn Arts & Communications Academy Gold Key students in the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards are, clockwise from the left front, Nayeli Torres (painting), Yaire Munoz, Briceyda Perez and Aracely Perez (photography).

Four friends

Aracely Perez's Gold Key photo, "Bed of Roses," was taken of her grandmother in a hospital bed holding and smelling a single rose.

"That was taken just a couple of days before she died," said Aracely, who also received a Silver Key for an outdoor photo of her grandmother with her father.

Briceyda Perez-Santiago received a photography Gold Key for "Spring Boy." A colorful portrait of her brother wearing green garnish and purple flower adornments.

Briceyda said she likes the color purple, and she and her brother were just having fun while shooting it. She also received two Silver Keys for other photos.

Yarie Munoz Olmedo's Gold Key photo was titled "Hiden'," in which she is donning a lampshade while hanging out with her friend, Nayeli Torres, in a second-hand store.

Nayeli earned two Gold Keys for paintings, "Black Lives Matter," and "Sad Paradise."

The latter depicts a loose helium balloon wearing a yellow disappointed face before the backdrop of a softly colored and sparsely clouded sky.

"I did that to show my emotions at the time, and how I was really kind of lost and sad during that year," Nayeli said. "But I felt like I was in a nice place. That's why I have the nice sunset in the background."

"Black Lives Matter" is a painting of the candy Skittles, the wrapper with the dark candies strewn over the canvas, a half dozen of which appear to have push pins in them.

Nayeli said the painting was inspired by a poem about Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was fatally shot by a vigilante George Zimmerman in 2012.

Nayeli also received a Silver Key for her photography portfolio.

Beyond artwork

The sentiment's behind the artwork is endemic to the practice, but that expression is becoming recognized for its importance beyond the scope of scholastic humanities. Current strides and understanding in the vital role emotional health plays in the development of youth has a feeler in the art world.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School junior Alexandra Ivanov displays her drawing & illustration, 'Pain is Beauty,' which earned her a Gold Key as part of the 2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards.

"There is value in art classes as people are recognizing its ability to give kids a healthy outlet, and that's important as mental health issues get more attention," WACA art teacher Catherine Johnstone said.

"Art is very important to critical thinking, and it connects people to everything," she added. "It also gives kids a voice; a place to express themselves."

Catherine, who has taught at Woodburn for 20 years, said when she occasionally receives a visit from former students, most of them tell her the thing they miss most about art is the critiques.

"Being able to show their work is important; art is meant to be seen," she said.

2020 Oregon Scholastic Art Awards 

State-wide over 7,000 artworks were submitted.  WACA received 28 Gold Keys including a Gold Key Portfolio, 60 Silver Keys, including a Silver Key Portfolio, and 111 Honorable Mentions. 

WACA Gold Keys

Ari Macrum - Senior Portfolio in Mixed Media

Ana Anastacio – Photography

Zoey Benevidez – Drawing & Illustration

Fernanda Dominguez – Drawing & Illustration, Mixed Media

Luz Flores – Mixed Media

Anthony Galicia – Photography

Ashley Guerra – Photography (2)

Evelyn Hernandez – Photography

Alexandra Ivanov – Drawing & Illustration

Ollie Knolson – Painting

Sydney Leon – Mixed Media

Jackie Martinez – Photography (3)

Brenda Martinez – Photography

Hugo Martinez – Drawing & Illustration

Yaire Munoz – Photography

Ana Olazaran – Photography

Briceyda Perez – Photography

Aracely Perez – Photography

Edgar Sampson – Photography

Nayeli Torres – Painting (2)

Guadalupe Tovar – Photography (2)

Sandra Salazar – Drawing & Illustration


Silver Keys

Nayeli Torres – Senior Portfolio in Photography

Silvia Aguilera – Photography (3)

Joanna Arrendondo – Photography

Lesly Arroyo – Mixed Media (2)

Zoey Benevidez – Photography, Mixed Media, Drawing & Illustration

Angel Capatillo – Photography

Haley Chaides – Drawing & Illustration

Alynn Cossio – Drawing & Illustration

Emilie Cottrell – Drawing & Illustration

Savannah Cox – Drawing & Illustration

Fay Delgado – Photography

Fernanda Dominguez – Painting

Emily Granados – Drawing & Illustration

Ashley Guerra – Photography (2)

Esmeralda Gutierrez – Drawing & Illustration

Alexandra Ivanov – Painting

Anna Koffler – Drawing & Illustration

Alexia Lobato – Painting (3), Mixed Media

Yesenia Lopez – Drawing & Illustration, Painting

Ari Macrum – Mixed Media, Printmaking

Jackie Martinez – Photography

Brenda Martinez – Mixed Media

Jovany Mendoza – Drawing & Illustration

Genesis Molina – Drawing & Illustration

Sandra Montanez – Drawing & Illustration

Destinee Morrison – Mixed Media

Rudy Perez – Photography

Briceyda Perez – Photography (3)

Aracely Perez – Photography

Emily Perez – Photography

Jolette Preciado – Photography

Adam Rauch – Photography

Karla Real – Photography

Edgar Sampson – Photography

McKenzie Sampson – Photography (3)

Crystal Sanchez – Drawing & Illustration

Nayeli Torres – Photography (2)

Maria Valencia – Photography

Magdalena Vasquez – Photography

Areli Valtierra – Photography (2)

Mirna Vasquez – Mixed Media

Perla Zepeda – Drawing & Illustration


Honorable Mentions (in a variety of media)

Joanna Arrendondo (2)

Lesly Arroyo (4)

Angel Arreola

Jose Barerra

Lizbeth Beas

Zoey Benevidez (5)

Angel Capatillo

Haley Chaides

Keysel Corea

Ivan Cruz

Fay Delgado (3)

Sierrah Destin (2)

Fernanda Dominguez

Luz Flores (3)

Tatiana Garcia (3)

Emily Granados (2)

Ashley Guerra (4)

Taylor Hudson

Kayden Kent

Anna Koffler (4)

Ari Macrum (4)

Alexia Lobato (5)

Yesenia Lopez

Brenda Martinez (3)

Adrian Martinez (2)

Giselle Martinez (2)

Rocio Medina (3)

Jovany Mendoza (2)

Hailey Morgan

Yaire Munoz (9)

Ana Olazaran (4)

Jessica Ortiz

Aracely Perez (3)

Erika Petronilo

Juan Ponce

Jolette Preciado (3)

Adam Rauch (2)

Karla Real

Hilda Rojas (3)

Virginia Salvador (2)

McKenzie Sampson

Martin Sanchez

Amelia Scymanky

Leah Tompkins

Nayeli Torres (2)

Guadalupe Tovar

Tamara Tschebotarjew

Maria Valencia (2)

Mayely Valle

Daizy Hernandez


What: Willamette Valley Scholastic Art Awards Ceremony

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14

Where: LaSells Stewart Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis

View WACA art students' contributions at;

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