Four arts programs at smaller schools in Klickitat County were the recent recipients of donations from the Northshore Community Foundation.
Wishram, Lyle, Centerville and Klickitat schools were awarded $552.50 each last month to support their budding arts programs through the local arts sponsorship program, whose board decided in April to allocate donations received from the Arts & Fusion event from 2019 to support young local artists.
Tammara Tippel, Northshore Community Foundation executive director said it was "extremely gratifying to be able to deliver these checks and to hear the excitement from both teachers and students. I learned how our $552.50 per school would provide creative growth experiences for children in my county and felt an array of emotions that came with the understanding of the impact."
Established in 2016 and operated by the Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce, the Northshore Community Foundation was created to foster awareness and innovation in Art, Agriculture, Education, Health and Sustainable Economy among our residents by providing grants, scholarships, educational programs and events which feature and focus on these aspects.
“Teaching Art is a passion, and being able to carry out this important work is very important to me,” said Kristen Ringer, the secondary arts, and fourth- and fifth- grade teacher at Wishram High and Elementary School. “These funds will help us continue to increase the depth of our Arts program, and this donation is greatly appreciated.”
At Wishram school, the arts program serves secondary students, and with the funding received, Ringer said she plans to use it to offset the cost of a kiln. With the kiln, she said she’ll be able to enhance her students’ learning experience and inspire them to continue learning about art.
Donations from community partners are essential to small school districts, and can help us expand our course offerings,” Wishram Superintendent Mike Roberts said. “In rural and remote settings, our students face a significant opportunity gap that only the school can combat.”
Klickitat School likewise will invest in a kiln, said Superintendent Brian Freeman, with the donation helping to offset the cost.
"We appreciate the community support providing more opportunities for our students to participate in the Arts,” Freeman said.
Asked about a big dream idea for further investment in the school’s art program future, Freeman replied that the district would be interested in investing in a photo lab, where “we could learn to develop film and have a Photography Lab Class.”
Likewise, Lyle School District officials said the funding will be used to repair the kiln located at the school, and invest in multiple art supplies, construction and watercolor papers as well as printmaking and fiber art supplies. They also intend to publish comics that the students have been working on this spring, said Dallesport Elementary School Principal Lori Smith.
"This generous support from the community allows us to expand arts opportunities and experiences for our students, adding immeasurable value and pleasure to their lives. Ultimately, it means our students can dream a little bigger," Smith said.
At Centerville School in central Klickitat County, Principal Kristin Cameron said the funds would be used for their yearly “Artist In Residence” art program, which normally sees a guest artist arrive and teach art activities to students. This year, due to COVID restrictions, Cameron said the program has been modified to include in-house artist and paraeducator Jenn Armstrong to provide students with art experience. Using a butterfly theme, students have recently been involved making flying origami butterflies with the help of Armstrong.
“We will fly our butterflies at our School Picnic on June 2. She will then work with students and complete a mural on our boiler room wall; the wall that kids use at recess for wall-ball and such. Each student will have their own, personalized butterfly on the wall,” Cameron said.
A major hurdle for schools, like many, is funding. At least two of the districts, including Lyle and Centerville, have noted that their annual budget for art activities are range from $2-300 a year, making the donations granted to the districts higher than what their budgets normally allot to the programs.
“This funding helps us tackle the next rung of our whole school vision to reincorporate the Arts into our students daily lives,” Roberts said.