Art is still happening in Clackamas County…and where there’s art, there’s hope!

This month we wanted to highlight the artwork of young people in our community. Due to the ongoing pandemic, events have been cancelled and delayed for over a year now, but luckily there are some that have been able to continue online

In fact, our YAC Program Coordinator Christine Toth was able to view the beautiful pieces of art virtually on display from students in the Clackamas Education Service District. These pieces were submitted from students all around the county from middle school to high school!

Here is her experience interacting with the art for this year’s Clackamas ESD Student Art Show.

Every year, the Clackamas Education Service District holds its Regional Art Show Awards Ceremony, and this year 107 middle and high school students from eight districts in Clackamas County participated. It was a pleasure to serve as one of the six regional artist jurors for the show. The work students submitted was impressive, diverse, and much of it reflected the challenges they faced and continue to face as they navigate school during a pandemic.

The exhibit reveals that students are dealing with isolation, and are worried about climate change, wildfires, and power outages. They miss their friends. Through their art, they elevate narratives such as mental health awareness, transgender issues, and grief, but also find beauty, playfulness, and meaning in a world that is requiring so much from them. The work is brave and inquisitive and shows they are willing to explore their yet unmapped creative terrain.

Awards and honors were given to student artists in each grade level, with 30 prizes and scholarships presented overall. High school prize winners received scholarships to PNCA and gift cards for online classes at One River School.

In this show, these students demonstrate that art is a courageous, resilient tool that helps all of us process life’s challenges and joys. My hope for these young people is that they are encouraged to believe in themselves and in their art, whether they received a prize or not. To me, every single piece was powerful. I hope they all keep going.

I encourage you to view the work yourselves. The online gallery is live until June 1, and you can access it via the button below.

— Christine

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