Youth Arts for Change students, teachers, and families gathered at Baker Prairie Middle School on December 5 to mark the completion of an 8-week after school program in which youth explored ideas about identity through the medium of silkscreening. Youth from the program celebrated their accomplishments with a presentation of their work. They also shared what they learned, including a demonstration of their new skills for the parents, who even jumped in and tried their hand at pulling prints at the direction of the youth!

The program was coordinated as a partnership between Clackamas County Arts Alliance and Todos Juntos, a nonprofit that strengthens the community by creating programs for students in a safe, structured, and positive environments. Patti Zavala, Site Manager for Todos Juntos, shared, “For the past 4 years Arts Alliance has provided high quality arts programs and this year it was no exception. The lead artist guided the students from basic color mixing and layering, to designing and t-shirt printing. During every session students walked in eager to learn new skills and improve the skills they had learned. This has been by far one of my favorite programs and know students loved every minute of it.”

Silkscreen printing is a process where the artist creates a design in a mesh-like fabric by blocking out areas of the mesh to prevent ink from passing through, then the ink is pulled through the mesh to create an image that can be reproduced multiple times. The 12 youth involved in the program started with basics, and built upon those skills eventually experimenting with layering colors and printing their own t-shirts and creating a series of prints for a print exchange so that all the youth could share their work with each other.

Teaching artist Sherry Jankiewicz, who has a Masters of Fine Arts in Print Media from Pacific Northwest College of Art and was previously a middle-school teacher for 13 years, lead the class. She said, “It is extremely rewarding to teach teens a new process and over the course of the program to watch them confidently pulling print after print while utilizing this skill to explore personally meaningful imagery. I was very impressed with the ambition that many students had while learning a new process. The experience and confidence the students gained from mastering a new technique will stay with them and can potentially inform future process-based learning opportunities across multiple areas of study.”

For more information on our Youth Arts for Change Program, CLICK HERE.

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