WASHOUGAL — Jemtegaard Middle School eighth-grade art student Aubrey Timmons recognizes that playing softball is an important foundation in her life. She aspires to someday create and illustrate characters for Pixar Studios.
Eleanor Livengood is inspired by the beauty of the mountains and her dog, Josie. She dreams of working professionally with dogs and hopes to visit Arizona to see cactus, and Alaska with its magnificent waterfalls that she feels symbolize movement through life.
Using tennis shoes as their media, Timmons, Livengood and their entire art class have discovered and illustrated these ideas through the Roots and Wings art project. One shoe represents their foundation and the other their goals. The project was a partnership with art teacher Dani Allen; Margaret McCarthy, UNITE! Washougal executive director; and Wendy Butler, a school district prevention specialist.
The idea was to have UNITE! sponsor an after-school art club for ages 11-18, but due to COVID-19, the activity could not be offered. So, McCarthy suggested implementing it with eighth-grade art students. Allen had led a similar project years ago using shoe outlines on paper, not real shoes. Butler came up with the name Roots and Wings and helped students to understand and embrace the assignment parameters.
Unite! Washougal purchased the shoes, paints, brushes, and other materials to make the project happen.
“Projects like this and the conversations they inspire are important for UNITE! to offer,” said McCarthy. “We want our youth to know there are adults in the community that care about them and their journey to their dreams.”