David Douglas High art show highlights students’ talent

Take a look, and discover the creativity and artistry demonstrated by these talented kids …

Friends, family members, folks from the community – and members of the DDS School Board all came by to take a look at this outstanding art show.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The quality of artistic work on display in the breezeway at the David Douglas School District office was stunning, as we sauntered among the displays on May 15.

“Welcome to our annual student art show,” greeted Gayla Buyukas, one of seven art teachers at David Douglas High School.

“The art on display is created from all of our students, from ninth grade to seniors,” Buyukas explained. “The forms of art range from painting and drawing to ceramics, jewelry and metals, calligraphy, crafts, glasswork.

David Douglas High art teacher Gayla Buyukas shows us a decorated brass box, created by student Celeste Hunter as part of the “Heroes Project”.

Heroes Project highlighted
Buyukas took us over to a locked glass case in which very small, delicate pieces – such as jewelry and memory boxes – were ensconced. “This case contains some of the works of art students created for what we call the ‘Heroes Project’.”

Students were asked to identify people – either folks they know, or personalities in popular culture – who are important to them, she said. “It could also be a philosophical concept in which they believe. Then, they design and create symbolic piece that represents that person or idea.”

As an example, Buyukas pointed out a small, elegant brass box. “This work was done by a junior, and near-4.0 student – Celeste Hunter. It represents her family; each side depicts one of her relatives who symbolize the story of her African-American tradition.”

Students tell about their works
Many of the works of art we saw in the gallery looked as if they were painted by professional artists. We enjoyed talking to several of the student artists about their projects.

Freshman Ricky Adams, with his portrait of actor McCauley Calkins.

A freshman, Ricky Adams, presented a pencil drawing of child actor McCauley Calkins. The photorealistic drawing clearly captured the image of the youthful actor starring in the “Home Alone” series of motion pictures. “It’s fun to learn about art,” Adams said. “I’m glad to have my drawing in the show.”

Lupe Diaz, 9th Grade, shows off her treasure boxes.

Another ninth grader, Lupe Diaz, showed us her “treasure boxes”, made for an art class. “I picked up colors that I liked and put them all together, and made patterns,” she commented.

This portrait of Snoop Dogg was drawn – in pencil – by junior Juan Diaz.

Juan Diaz, a DDHS junior, presented his drawing of rap artist Snoop Dogg. “It’s a drawing in pencil. The challenging thing is to get the dark and light shading contrast just right when you’re doing a pencil illustration.” Diaz added that he planned to pursue a career in art.

Bruce Ross, a senior, says he enjoys creating art in different media.

“The best thing about the show is that it means I’m about to graduate,” quipped a senior, Bruce Ross. “I’m known for my calligraphy; I won a blue ribbon for a work at last year’s Oregon State Fair. With calligraphy, you can express a concept by using both words and artistic style.”

But the work Ross chose to show us was a ceramic dish. “With ceramics, you can create a lot of texture.” The talented young man said he planned to attend the Art Institute of Portland, and go into art direction and graphic design as a career.

The artists who designed and created theses fused glass artworks weren’t around, but they did produce some beautiful pieces.

Showcasing school’s talent
The show was substantial; the works of nearly 800 students are represented in it.

“It’s one of the rare times when students can actually showcase their pieces before the school and their family and members of the community,” commented Buyukas. “In addition to students, parents, and community members, our school district’s board members also get the opportunity to look at what our kids have done during the year.”

We were delighted to have had the opportunity to be among those enjoying these works of art, created by outer East Portland students.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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