PORTLAND, Ore. - Summer camp never looked so good. Come mid-June, 16 young
people will descend on the Portland area for the week-long program at the
Oregon College of Arts and Crafts - "Journeys in Creativity: Explorations
of Native Art."
In its second year, Journeys in Creativity is the brainchild of the adult
artists and members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs who worked
with sponsors, including the Museum at Warm Springs, the tribe's Kah-Nee-Ta
Lodge and Resort and the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in Portland. The
six-day experience features up-close and personal workshops with four adult
Indian artists who have developed professional careers.
Noted Northwest ceramicist Lillian Pitt of the Warm Springs confederation
will teach a daylong class in maskmaking related to indigenous images in
the region. Enrolled Seneca Marie Watt, who has a Master of Fine Arts
degree in painting and printmaking from Yale, will devote a day to helping
students explore the medium of paint and the world of color.
Ramon Marillo, a Shobane from Fort Hall, will take students through two
days of printing on fabrics and creating various textures. And Warm Springs
fiber artist Pat Courtney Gold will introduce the students to the world of
weaving natural fibers into baskets.
Journeys in Creativity program manager Shirod Younker said a day is
reserved for students to go gallery-hopping around Portland, not to mention
stop in at one of the city's many art supply stores "so they will have some
nice things to take home."
Evening entertainment is planed as well. Portland poet and Warm Springs
tribal member Liz Woody will give a reading one night. On subsequent
evenings, Northwest storytellers Ed Edmo and Alex Muktoyuk will bring oral
tradition to life and regale students with accounts from the old days as
well as the new.
At last count, eight of the students that will attend are from the Warm
Springs tribe. "The youths don't have to be Native," said Younker, "but we
do hope that ethnic diversity has a strong representation. That said, we
are encouraging as many Native youths to apply as we can."
And the students did need to apply. Those interested had to get a letter of
recommendation and write a 200-word letter of interest. "They didn't have
to send any artwork in, since some students have better access to art
materials and training than others," said Younker.
"What we're trying to do is recognize potential and/or the willingness to
consider art as a future career. This is a way for these kids to come in
and see what they can do. They'll have access to these Native artists and
be able to realize their potential and determine what they want to do.
Hopefully after their experiences with us, they will go on from here and
become professional artists in their own right."
In their own right: powerful words for youngsters, some of whom are coming
in from the small community of Warm Springs to Portland for the first time.
If the artists and organizers of Journeys in Creativity have their way, the
seeds they plant this summer will not only grow, but inspire the next
generation so that in their turn and in their own time, today's youths can
mature into successful artists who will keep the light alive.