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Arts4Smarts earns bucks for books

Beaver Acres Elementary's annual art sale buys books for school classrooms


TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Second-grade teacher Carol Poland hangs art in the hallway at Beavers Acres Elementary School to be featured for the schools fundraiser ARTS4smARTS.Several years back, in the bad old days of school budget cuts, teachers Sara Bryant and Sarah Widmer decided they would help raise money for books at Beaver Acres Elementary School by hosting a fun run.

After all, other schools in the Beaverton School District were doing much the same thing.

But Bryant and Widmer soon ran instead into a problem: Their school’s location, sitting along busy (and in places sidewalk-free) Southwest 170th Avenue at Merlo Road, would be too treacherous for a running course.

But then they found that visitors at the school would notice all the artwork hanging in the hallways and sometimes remark, “I would buy this.”

And ARTS4smARTS was born.

Many Beaver Acres classroom teachers have a penchant for teaching art, and the quality of their students’ work has brought out buyers snapping up artworks for $2 to $5 apiece.

The first year, they earned about $3,000 in the sale, which rose to $5,000 and then last year $7,000. They hope to top that mark in this, ARTS4smARTS’ fourth year.TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Clay dishes made by the students in Sara Bryants first-grade class will be one of many art pieces that will be featured at Beavers Acres Elementary Schools fundraiser ARTS4smARTS.

ARTS4smARTS starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the school and is open to the general public, although many of the visitors are parents and others with ties to the school. Businesses — including Yahoo this year — also have contributed larger sums to buy up art to decorate their offices.

Besides art, the event features entertainment, refreshments and a silent auction.

“It’s a homegrown fundraiser where everything goes back to the school,” said Widmer, a third-grade teacher.

Each student contributes their works from three different art projects completed during the school year. The artworks include paintings, drawings, ceramics, notecards, ornaments and many others.

Proceeds of all Beaver Acres student artworks get divided among teachers at the school, which serves 800 children in one of the district’s lower-income neighborhoods, neighborhood where kids often have less access to books at home.

“If we’re all about literacy, then we need to have lots of books in our classrooms,” said Bryant, a first-grade teacher.

This year’s ARTS4smARTS also has a new twist.

Two Beaver Acres fourth-graders, Kallan Bordwell-Gray and Mariam Harjan, enlisted the help of high-school artists to offer a special sale of older students’ works.

Sales of the high-schoolers’ creations will go to help homeless Beaverton-area students with basic expenses, including quarters and soap for laundry.