ARCH CAPE — Students at Fire Mountain School will make their debut at the Cannon Beach Arts Association this month with art inspired by the environment around them.

With straws in hand, students on Tuesday collaborated on an ink portrait of a tree. Nicole Poole, a supporter of Fire Mountain School and artist, would drop a splash off ink on the page, which the students would then blow on to create a tendril-like design resembling branches of a tree. Others sat at different stations, drawing portraits of their favorite Pacific Northwest animals and plants. The students, ranging in age from preschool to fifth grade, have also been creating temporary artwork in the forest and on the beach, inspired by the site-specific work of British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.

The multiday art project was inspired by the idea of “seeing the coastal edge through children’s eyes,” said North Coast Land Conservancy Executive Director and Fire Mountain School parent Katie Voelke. Part of the goal of this project is raise awareness of the conservancy’s fundraising effort to conserve the 3,500-acre Rainforest Reserve and Coastal Edge area near Arch Cape.

“NCLC asked the students at Fire Mountain School if they would be willing to share their artwork with the community to inspire them to conserve the Coastal Edge, and they said they would,” said Volke.

Fire Mountain School administrator Faith Deur said the project fits into the school’s larger vision of encouraging place-based learning, a philosophy that encourages the work children do in school to have real world applications.

“You’re not going from worksheet to worksheet. If you’re able to do something real, something for the community, then it promotes a kind of civic-mindedness,” Deur said.

About 30 different art pieces should be produced inspired by the coastal edge by the time the project is over. Deur said she hopes those who come see the work on display will have a chance to see the property “through the yes of the children, and to find value in it.”

The exhibition will be at the Cannon Beach Arts Association gallery on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19. A reception will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.


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