Art Speaks to viewers at Camas High

Camas High creators offer insight as part of interactive exhibit

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

CAMAS — Ashe Parra described how the girl in her drawing, with flowers, a butterfly and a clock adorning her head, represented childhood and carefree living. Emily Hull shared how her rhinoceros photo resulted from time spent volunteering at the Oregon Zoo and a new camera lens, courtesy of her parents.

Parra, Hull and dozens of their Camas High classmates pre-recorded brief commentaries that served as a vocal supplement to the paintings, photos, multimedia pieces and other works they showcased during Tuesday’s Voices of Art 2012. The art gallery was inside the J.D. Zellerbach District Administrative Office, 841 N.E. 22nd Ave.

Gallery attendees accessed artists’ voices by dialing a cell phone number. The school paid tech company Spatial Adventures $175 for a program that allowed the synchronization of students’ voices with their works. Each student sought to answer a single question about their work.

The gallery’s vocal component provided viewers immediate insight into the artist’s minds and sought to encourage more students to get involved in the arts, teachers said.

Tuesday’s gallery included 78 works created by 68 students from grades 9 thru 12.

The gallery represented the first of its kind in recent memory, said organizer Rod Raunig, who teaches drawing, painting and pottery at the high school. The school had an

electronic gallery displayed in its computer lab during the spring. That program was organized by Doug Huegli, a digital photography and graphic design teacher.

Pottery teacher Ashley Snyder and mixed media teacher Gina Marioti-Shapard also assisted in the Voices of Art 2012.

Students raved about the recordings. They offered key nuggets about their friends’ motivations, the artists noted.

In her recording, Parra answered the question “What is this girl about?” in crisp and direct terms.

The flowers in the “Untitled” piece were significant, she said while looking at her piece, because her mom often put them in her hair when she was young. They made her feel like a princess, she said.

“I feel nostalgia with this piece in particular,” said Parra, a 15-year-old sophomore. She had a second piece displayed, which incorporated her days as a dancer, she added.

Her mother also left impressed.

“I thought it brought an added dimension to the show,” Lana Parra said.

Surprised by scope

Raunig and his fellow teachers began hanging the pieces four days before the gallery. They recorded the voices two weeks in advance. It was not until Raunig listened to the students’ voices while looking at their work that the project’s full scope hit him.

“You pull out the cell phone and go, ‘oh yeah, this is really cool,’” the teacher said, adding students described their work in a way he would not have imagined.

Hull stood to the side of her two pictures, soaking in her first exhibit. A stranger approached her, after viewing the student’s hyper-detailed photo of a rhinoceros, and remarked how cool it must have been volunteering at the Oregon Zoo.

She recalled the excitement she felt, not only with that experience, but with hearing her classmates’ commentaries.

“You can kind of tell what they were thinking when they took their pictures,” said Hull, a 16-year-old junior, “and it gives me more things to think about as a photographer, in how I can take better pictures.”

Ellen Manning, a 15-year-old sophomore, contributed a pottery piece called “Coil Vessel” to her first-ever gallery.

“Some pieces I had no idea what their inspiration was so it was nice to hear with my phone,” Manning said.

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; www.facebook.com/raylegend;www.twitter.com/col_smallcities;ray.legendre@columbian.com