Amber Sprague, a new resident to Newport who teaches art at Newport Intermediate School and Isaac Newton Magnet School, shows her work in the Upstairs Gallery in September.
Sprague’s art aims to raise the level of awareness regarding global social issues, particularly the education for all girls and the universal access to clean water.
“I started addressing these issues as a response to my questions on how to be a compassionate and aware member of this world. I was at a loss for how to act and respond to the deep-seated social injustices seen here and abroad. Though I may not be able to eradicate widespread poverty with a single solution, I can bear witness to the real stories and hope found in the midst of these seemingly unsolvable problems.
“The quote ‘Constant dripping hollows out a stone’ by Lucretius reminds me to intentionally do what I can to affect change in the world, bearing witness to one story and changed life at a time. Thus, through my experimentation with found materials, collage elements, and multiple mediums I seek to build an earthy, raw tactile experience that places the viewer in the life of the subject, putting a face on the social issues we all have a responsibility to address,” she says in her artist’s statement.
Born and raised in Chico, Calif., Sprague completed her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in liberal studies in 2008. She moved to Portland, where she continued her education in studio art and art history at Portland Community College before spending the last two years completing a master’s degree in teaching from Lewis & Clark College with an endorsement in art education.
During a year-long teaching internship at Wilsonville High School, she instructed mixed classes of students with diverse needs (including those in special education), designed curriculum and assessments, facilitated cooperative grouping, and co-managed a school-commissioned art installation.
Proficient in figure drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking and digital photography, she states, “In my art classroom I hope to encourage my students to express themselves, to think deeply and consciously, and to embrace mistakes as part of the learning process. It is with great excitement that I start my art teaching career in this arts-centered community.”
Sprague will donate 30 percent of any sales of her work during the exhibit to Bridging the Gap, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness and funds to build clean water wells in developing countries.