Student show celebrates national arts education partnership

Alahna, 1st Grade. From installation at North Portland Library.

Who: The Right Brain Initiative and King PK-8 School
What: Student art show
Where: Community Room at North Portland Library, 512 N Killingsworth
When: Reception Tuesday, July 23, 5-7 p.m. Show on view through Aug. 31, 2013

Starting Tuesday, July 23, the North Portland Library will feature stunning black-and-white images of local 1st and 2nd graders and their neighbors. All work was produced this spring by students at Northeast Portland’s King PK-8 School during an arts education program facilitated by The Right Brain Initiative.

This display celebrates the partnership between Right Brain, a Portland non-profit arts-in-schools program, and King, one of eight public schools in the nation selected for the Turnaround Arts initiative. Turnaround Arts is a new public-private partnership of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities, chaired by Michelle Obama. It is determined to boost achievement at some of the lowest performing schools in the country by providing students with full access to high-quality arts experiences.

Right Brain partnered with King this year to provide an essential part of the school’s new arts offerings. Right Brain provided artist residencies to all classrooms and professional development for King staff, which gave teachers tools to naturally integrate the arts into their daily teaching.

“It was an obvious choice to link King School with Right Brain’s dynamic arts programming,” said Katy Mayo-Hudson, the Portland-based Implementation Coordinator for Turnaround Arts. “Right Brain and Turnaround Arts share a commitment to integrated arts education and a belief that creative experiences are non-negotiable for every child. This is a natural and symbiotic partnership.”

The work on view at the North Portland Library was created by 1st and 2nd graders. Partnering with King staff, Right Brain teaching artist and Portland Creative Laureate Julie Keefe integrated the students’ International Baccalaureate curriculum about neighborhoods into a photography project that investigated identity and community. Students interviewed each other and adults from the neighborhood, using portraits and writing to explore how individuals fit within their greater ecosystem.

The program was a perfect match for King School, a community in transition. In recent years, King has struggled with low test scores and student enrollment which dropped from 458 in 2006 to 288. Under the guidance of Kim Patterson, the school’s energetic new principal, King leaders have made the arts an essential part of student learning and community development. Right Brain’s programming has seamlessly supported King’s achievement goals.

The opening reception on July 23 will feature video documentation from King’s first year working with Right Brain. King students and staff, Right Brain leaders and other community partners will be in attendance to celebrate a productive and creative year.


The Right Brain Initiative is a sustainable partnership of public schools, local government, foundations, businesses and the cultural community, which launched its effort to bring the arts to every child in the Portland area in January 2009. The program’s vision is to transform learning for all children through the arts, creativity, innovation and whole-brain thinking. The Right Brain Initiative is a project of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, with Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington serving as Implementation Partner. Read more online at

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is the local arts agency for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties, providing grants for artists, schools and nonprofit organizations; conducting workplace giving for arts and culture (“Work for Art”) and other advocacy efforts; presenting workshops and other forms of technical assistance; providing printed and web-based resources for artists; and integrating art into public spaces. Online at