Art access: State Commission’s report points to strength of local programs

Oregon Arts Commission‘s “Access to Arts” report, issued Thursday, shows that four counties — Hood River, Morrow, Sherman and Wheeler — have 100 percent access rates.

That means every school in each of these four counties provides some form of arts instruction.

Music education is provided in every school in the district by a certified staff member. Through Arts in Education of the Gorge (the new name of Columbia Gorge Arts in Education) every school also receives arts instruction in one or more of the following disciplines: literary art, visual art, media art, dance, music and theater. This happens through artist-in-residence programs or ASAP (After-School Arts Partnership program). Arts in Education also serves Wasco and Sherman counties in Oregon and Klickitat County in Washington.

Two current arts projects serve as vivid examples of the power of arts education:

One is the Empty Bowls benefit, held Thursday, for the FISH food bank capital campaign. More than 100 people gathered at Hood River Middle School, spending $30 each for a ceramic bowl created by an HRVHS student.

The bowls were not only refined creative expressions, they also went to a great cause. Art teacher Amirra Malak said that while the class credit the students received encouraged them to create good bowls, the main motivation was knowing their works would go to helping other people.

(Evidence that there is a payoff to the empathy teaching woven into arts and other projects over the years at the elementary school level.)

Meanwhile, the “12 Plates” project continues through Nov. 29 at Gallery 301: local artists created art plates for silent auction to benefit Arts in Education. Anyone can go and place a bid; it’s an extension of the same plate auction that was part of the discontinued “Bite of the Gorge” event.

Other Arts in Education programs include the May Street Elementary Art Week (see photo on page A12, and more to come Nov. 27) and a Music Enrichment Program; Westside Elementary Sequential Arts Education Pilot Program and a Music Enrichment Program; Cascade Locks School: Artist-in-residence and ASAP After-school Arts Partnership through the Excel Program (21st Century grant); artists in residence at Hood River Valley High School and Hood River and Wy’east middle schools.

At Wy’east, Arts in the Gorge and the district have teamed with support from Oregon Community Foundation to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to STEAM – adding arts to the blend, something other schools are also working toward.

Projects to come include a digital storytelling project for Hood River Valley High School senior English students in March 2014, funded by the Oregon Arts Commission’s Arts Learning grant program (grants written and received by Arts in Education).

The Arts Commission report confirms the breadth of local projects as well as the importance of the many teaching artists from Arts in Education of the Gorge and other programs.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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