Trends / Legacy: CMHS students uncover an art fence News

Students from Clatskanie High School of Art left their mark with a bright new addition to the Clatskanie Middle / High School (CMHS) campus.

On Thursday, June 23, CMHS Director of Fine Arts Jaime Erwin applied the final coat of paint to a multicolored fence that wraps around the school garden.

One or more italics are written on each fence board with the phrase “Grow through what you go through.”







CMHS art students sit in front of the art fence around the garden next to Mr. Byrne’s classroom.




The garden belongs to James Byrne, a high school biology and agriculture teacher.

“(Byrne) has a garden behind the school where his classes grow things, and they have birdhouses that they check,” Irwin said. “I asked him (if) it would be good if we recreated an artistic fence and returned it to his garden. He said it was a great idea. “

The idea for the fence painting project was first presented by Clatskanie Bloom, a group supporting local artists in Clatskanie.

“They had a similar project in the park next to their art gallery, where they had a call to artists,” Erwin explained. “It was (for) adults and children and they could come and get a board, which gave them guidelines on how to draw the board and have an offer there.

Irwin saw the potential to turn the business into a campus beautification project for her students, and after receiving a $ 750 grant from Clatskanie Bloom, she launched a plan.

CMHS Career Technical Education (CTE) / Forestry teacher Danny Flatz had his class in the wooden shop prepare the materials for the project.

“They’ve built everything for us and there’s no bottom of the fence, so they’ve installed lower planks on the fence so we can (screw up) the fence boards, top and then bottom,” Erwin said.

The art students, a total of 20, received one drawing board and two weeks to complete their original design as part of their latest school project, which is heading for summer vacation.

As Director of Fine Arts at CMHS, Irwin teaches a variety of arts, including drama, music, and studio art.

Irwin said enrollment in her art course has increased this year and so far her students have been incredibly resilient after overcoming the challenges of dropping out.

“When we came back in the second semester last year and we were in person, I saw a lot more growth and excitement and that continued this year,” Erwin said. “We have really talented children.

Irwin described her feelings of excitement after learning how the project resonated with her students.

“When we put it in and installed it, they finally clicked that it would be on campus all this time,” Irwin said. “I don’t think they understood until they started seeing it installed.

“I showed them the example of the park fence next to the library and they’re fine, you know, that’s kind of cool. But then when we started installing it, they were like, oh, my board will be here for everyone to see for years.

In addition to building their fine arts skills, the creative effort has given Irwin’s students a desire to discover what else they can do to improve their community.

“This is the first question I got, ‘What else? What else can we beautify? What else can I put my stamp on? What else can I leave my legacy to? which I thought was pure, “Irwin said.

Megan Kratka, a 10th grader at CMHS, was one of the students involved in the fence painting project.

Brief said that she learned a lot of her time in Erwin’s class and developed better drawing and painting skills and “really everything in general”.

“I really hope we have a lot of opportunities like this, because it’s a really great way for everyone to get together,” she said.

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