Giving young artists a platform

Hanging in the boardroom at Sequim High School, where the school board and various other public meetings take place, are the future dreams of the town’s youths.

Under the banner “My Life as an Adult,” art students from Joshua Capps’ middle school classes have created visions of what they hope their lives will include.

One piece is a picture of Paris at night, with the Eiffel Tower looming in the forefront, and little animals scurrying about. “The future travels of Jackie (and her guinea pigs)” reads the caption on the piece by middle-school student Jacqueline Sanschagrin.

The artwork is displayed in an effort to showcase the work of the students, said district resource coordinator Annette Hanson.

“It’s a way of sharing the talents of our students with the community and with parents,” Hanson explained. “Plus, it really just brightens up the room.”

Hanson explained that the idea started several years ago with district secretary Loanna Torey spearheading the tradition, and after joining the district in 2007, superintendent Bill Bentley encouraged the program to start again.

“We think it’s important to have the children at the center of everything we do,” said Bentley, who added that he wants to do this sort of thing throughout the district. “We want to have student work accessible to (more people).”

While the middle school students’ artwork is currently being displayed, Hanson explained that the pieces will be rotated on a monthly basis, so all of the district’s children will have an opportunity to see their work hanging up.

“Helen Haller Elementary students will have their art up in February, the high school in March and the community school in April,” Hanson said. “That way, we get a variety in there.”

Adding to the regularly displayed work, the boardroom has extra decorations for the month of January, which is School Board Appreciation Month. At the first board meeting of 2008, which was held Jan. 7, student representatives Heather Smith and Amanda Tjemsland presented each of the five board members with a framed certificate of appreciation. Each of the certificates also had a piece of art from Sequim elementary students, a piece Bentley picked based on the personalities and interests of the board members.

“This is wonderful,” said board president Sarah Bedinger, who added of the student art display, “I think it’s a great idea that will work well.”

Also optimistic about his future is middle school student Lorenzo Gonzalez, who put a rocketship-like machine on his “My Life as an Adult” artwork.

“I’m going to be rich and famous from discovering stuff. Yeah,” reads the caption.

The school district boardroom is located in Sequim High School and is open during school board meetings, which are alternating Mondays at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the school district at 582-3260.