'A visit to the principal' reimagined
Principal Dan Schumaker's office could quite possibly be the next networking tool for fine arts students at Wilsonville High School.
Schumaker's blank walls in his new office this year will serve as a "rotating gallery" for student artwork. And he credits Christopher Shotola-Hardt, art director and teacher at WHS, for coming up with the idea.
"He's really thoughtful about the full experience for students," Schumaker said. "I frequently have members of the community I might be meeting with so if we're meeting at the table (near the art) they're seeing the work."
And the first student with featured art is junior Eleanor Karrick.
"I am thankful to Shotola-Hardt for recommending to the principal that my work go in his office as the first show," said Karrick, who started making the art on display over the last two years. "I think it's beneficial for the principal to keep a rotating gallery in his office so that whoever passes through his office can see what this school's students can really do."
One of her pieces is a painting that uses several different materials — coffee grounds, gesso, aquavar, acrylic paint and ink. The majority of Karrick's pieces in the new gallery space are geometric in nature.
"I created the smaller pieces by drawing out the designs first on paper with a ballpoint pen, compass and ruler, then cutting around the pen ink of the design so that I had a sort of paper lace," Karrick said. "Once I had cut out the designs, I centered them over their canvases ... and painted glue over them to keep them in place."
Schumaker remembers when Shotola-Hardt brought Karrick to his office and told him Karrick was really "math-inspired in her work," Shumaker said. "I used to be a math teacher so knowing that about me, he thought she might be a good fit."
Schumaker hopes the gallery that fills his office walls will rotate every month or so, with recommendations from Shotola-Hardt and other art teachers. Schumaker said he believes that even though the gallery is in his office, it's great practice and a valuable learning experience for students. He saw Shotola-Hardt and Karrick meticulously pick out the spots to place the artwork and treat it as they would an outside gallery.
"Really all subject areas think about this idea of 'How do you make your work public? What does that do for you when you're doing that? Do you pay attention to your work at a different level, different detail when you know it's going to be public?'" Schumaker said. "(Christopher and Eleanor) went through all the work you would go through to figure out which pieces you want to put where ... the language he was using with her and the thoughtfulness was more teaching."