This column has been cooking for several weeks. Literally, “cooking,” a term used by glass artists. These particular students are at Hilltop Artists and are contributing their work to be auctioned off at the fourth annual Splash! Art at the Museum fundraiser for the Harbor History Museum on March 16.
Their work will be joined by those of artists from Peninsula High School’s art class who designed and made wondrous creations in batik under the direction of teacher Curtiss Hall.
Gig Harbor High students in photography and graphic design teacher Beth Watson’s class are contributing some of their finest work to be auctioned.
It’s been my pleasure to be involved with students from all three of these institutions.
Tami McDaniel, development director at Harbor History Museum, opened the door. We started our journey in January with a visit to PHS, where we observed student artists designing, fabricating stencils and employing ancient techniques to produce some very interesting, artistic batik fabrics.
Days later, we spent a long, warm evening in a glass-blowing class at Hilltop Artists in Tacoma. Although it was near freezing outside, we didn’t need our overcoats inside. Glass making is a hot activity.
When Kendra Brown entered her senior year at PHS she knew she needed a fine art credit to graduate.
“I wasn’t interested in batik and wasn’t even signed up for it,” she said. “I’m happy to say, because of a schedule change, I ended up loving the class and the projects we did. I was able to give Christmas presents without spending money because I was able to make my family batiks.
“For Christmas, I got a cello, so I incorporated that as well in my batik for Splash! because I love the instrument. The elements of the piece are things I love!”
Watson said creating artwork is more than what happens in the classroom.
“My goal is to teach students how to communicate a little something about themselves or their lives through their photography, an impactful way of communication and capturing memories,” Watson said. “I’m proud of the work my students create and am happy they can participate in benefitting their community through auctioning off their artwork in the Splash! event.”
GHHS senior Jack Schweitzer submitted “Driftwood on the Beach — Still Life.” He thought participating in Splash! would be a good opportunity.
“(It’s) something I’ve never done and would be a cool experience,” Schweitzer said. “It’s a great opportunity, and I am happy to help out.”
Classmate Athena Nelson, who submitted “Lemons in a Bowel — Still life,” said photography has become one of her interests that she looks forward to sharing with the community.
And GHHS junior Liz Frederickson, who contributed a spectacular red flower-macro photography, said she chose to participate to help the museum.
“I am honored by the opportunity to sell my artwork to help raise funds for the gallery,” Frederickson said.
Established in 1994 at Jason Lee Middle School in Tacoma, with the help of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly, Hilltop Artists is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit glass arts program that provides classes and individualized instruction to more than 500 students each year.
Through the program, young people have an opportunity to learn glass blowing, mosaics, fused glass and beadwork. Hilltop serves a diverse group and is especially effective with young people who are searching for ways to connect to others. Hilltop Artists serves students who are 12-20. None are refused based on past behavior, grades, disabilities or artistic talent. All programs are tuition-free.
The plant is top-of-the-line. Really impressive. The students are no-nonsense, serious artists in the making.
To arrange a visit, call production manager Jessica Hogan at 253-571-7761 or email email@example.com.
Before you do that, call Harbor History Museum’s Tami McDaniel at 253-858-6722, ext. 3, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what you can do to make a big success of Splash!
You’ll be glad you did.Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at email@example.com.