The NewArt Northwest Kids Exhibit is returning to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art for its 12th year. The program is a collaboration between elementary, middle and high schools from all across Eugene, Springfield and Junction City.
After its first successful year, the display grew to be an annual occurrence that has drawn young students year after year to submit their artwork. Over time, the exhibit has grown from a small amount of artwork in a hallway of the Ford Alumni Center to a full exhibit on the JSMA walls. There are 16 schools participating this year.
“I love how colorful my painting is and how much it looks like the Painted Hills in Oregon,” said fourth grader Adelaide Wallin from Charlemagne Elementary School.
By incorporating local schools and students, the JSMA has brought the community into the museum and allowed them to be a part of the many works of art that are displayed.
“This exhibit is truly a wonderful way to visually show just how involved we are with the community,” JSMA Communication Director Debbie Williamson said. While the museum always offers tours to local schools and often goes out to teach art practices to students within the community, this exhibit has included Eugene locals on a more intimate level.
The NewArt Northwest Kids exhibit determines its theme each year based on what would work well with other current JSMA exhibits, keeping NewArt’s topics relevant to the museum. This year the exhibit theme was created by combining the subject of the JSMA’s Plastic Entanglements Exhibit, which was displayed in the fall, and the Visual Magic: An Oregon Invitational exhibit that is currently on display.
The ideas materialized into “Protecting the Northwest’s Beauty.” This theme took a more personal approach and is “examining our role in caring for the environment, as well as our role as stewards of the land,” director of the exhibit Hannah Bastian said.
The theme is very clearly displayed throughout each art piece with happy images of everything from native squirrels to beautiful oceans. Many famous Oregon landscapes were recreated with fun new materials and a bright creative vision.
“I was able to utilize recycled materials while creating my painting which fits well with the theme of protecting our oceans,” said Andrew Spriggs, a 12th grader from Creswell High School.
In previous years, the exhibit themes have covered the magic of superheros, the beauty of food and the complexity of strange dreams. This year’s theme has been shown through various paintings, sketches and collages. Many of the pieces display beautiful depictions of animals in nature, interpretations of Oregon scenery and bright images of local foliage. Bastian described the collection of pieces as, “Bright, colorful, cheerful and full of hope for the future.”
The participating students are able to submit any kind of two-dimensional art along with a description of their piece to be hung up next to it. They are then given awards and artist badges as a symbol of their hard work. The museum even hosts a celebratory reception in their honor where they can show their friends and family what they’ve achieved.
“I love my artwork because I did it all by myself,” said Kepri Sroka, a fourth grader from Charlemagne Elementary School.
The NewArt Northwest Kids Exhibit is on display through April 28. The JSMA is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Entry is $5, $3 for people 62 and up and free for members, UO students and faculty.