The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts welcomes the Honoring Our Rivers (HOR) project for an exhibition of student artwork and writing in the Upstairs Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center from January 8-30. A reception for the HOR exhibit will be held on January 8, with a HOR representative to speak about the project at 6:30pm during the reception.
Established in 2000, the Honoring Our Rivers project showcases Oregon student writing and artwork focused on rivers and watersheds. From poetry, prose and fiction, from illustration to photography, students from throughout Oregon submit their work to a juried-review process and finalists appear before the public in an annual printed anthology and at exhibits, events and readings hosted by HOR. Student work has been published alongside invited and well-known Oregon authors and visual artists such as Ursula Le Guin, Kim Stafford, Kathleen Dean Moore, Jon Raymond and Carlos Reyes, among many others.
Oregon schools, teachers, academic advisors, community youth programs and homeschoolers are encouraged to promote student submissions to Honoring Our Rivers before its annual January 31 deadline (visit honoringourrivers.org for submission forms and information). In 2014, HOR received over 1,000 students submitted entries to the anthology and over 4,000 copies were distributed to Oregon school and libraries. The project is open to all Oregon students from kindergarten to 12th grade as well as undergraduate students. Copies of the current HOR anthology, along with past editions, will be available free-of-charge during the exhibit at the VAC.
Honoring Our Rivers is a project of the Willamette Partnership, with current sponsorship from the Gray Family Foundation, the Port of Portland, the Eugene Water and Electric Board, NW Natural, Wildwood Mahonia and Clean Water Services (partial list) as well as partners including Powell’s Books, Caldera Arts, SOLVE and the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.
“We are excited to host this long-time, venerable and statewide student artwork project,” says OCCA VAC Director Tom Webb. “Honoring Our Rivers benefits every student who submits and the exhibit at the VAC should generate more submissions from coastal students. The project also dovetails with the new Art Fridays youth arts-learning program at the VAC, and we will be encouraging students to submit through the Art Fridays classes.”
The student artwork generated through HOR’s juried-review process is impressive and varied. Jury panelists include educators, school advisors, writers and artists, and project leaders. A blind-review scoring system ranks top submissions at each grade level. From there, students enjoy their work in a statewide publication, appear at the annual release party at Powell’s Books in Portland and are invited to other readings and exhibits throughout the year. HOR also supports teachers’ efforts to meet state standards in the arts, English and earth scientists.
In 2015, the Honoring Our Rivers project launched a new nature writing workshop for teachers, and in 2014, student excerpts from past HOR anthologies were engraved in ceremonial rocks at the new Poet’s Beach along the Willamette River in downtown Portland.
The Upstairs Gallery is open from Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.