Hillsboro's Walters Center hosts exhibit featuring artists of all ages, skill levels
by: Photo courtesy Walters Center Art by Walters Cultural Arts Center instructor Constance Adams is showing alongside art by her students.

We may be in the midst of summer vacation, but class is in session at Hillsboro's Walters Cultural Arts Center, with aspiring artists of all ages and skill levels hard at work in the organization's many arts classes.

Through July 27, the center's galleries are showcasing the works of students and instructors from the group's drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and other classes with its third annual 'Instructors and Students' exhibit.

Established in 2004, the Walters Center has been consistently committed to bringing arts education to the Hillsboro area, and as the organization has grown, so have its educational offerings, which now constitute a hefty chunk of the group's work with the community.

'The classes are about a third of what we do at the center,' said cultural arts program supervisor Carl Annala.

With classes ranging in size from five to 12 students on average, Annala said the Walters classes offer a more intimate instruction experience for students than classes in public schools.

'The class size allows a lot of attention for each student,' said Annala. 'In grammar school, it's about 30 students for class, so students get a lot more attention here.'

In previous years, the works of students and instructors was segregated, with students featured in the lower gallery and instructors showcased upstairs. This year, the works stand side by side, and Annala said the integration speaks to the quality of work by both experienced and fledgling artists.

'I'm always surprised at the quality of the work,' said Annala. 'Now it's almost hard to tell the student work from the teacher work in that the level that the students create is so high. It's a better show as a result, which is delightful.'

Instructor, facility supervisor and gallery assistant Constance Adams, on the other hand, said she's not at all surprised by the quality of the work. A teacher of drawing, sculpting and other practices, Adams said student commitment to their crafts has resulted in amazing output since she joined the Walters Center in 2004.

And with public arts education waning, Adams said the efforts of the Walters Center programs are now more important than ever.

'A lot of my students talk about how they're not getting art at the schools, and a lot of home schoolers come in to use the facilities,' said Adams. 'There's a lot of problem solving, and that's something that gets overlooked in schools. They're not just having fun and making pretty pictures. They have to think about form and shape and concept. I think the schools overlook that.'

The results of the programs' successes are clear. This is the biggest 'Instructors and Students' show to date, and Adams said the Center is enjoying increased success as more and more artists flock to the center to try their hands and brushes at creating art.

'For the first time since the center opened, all of my classes have gone (into session), whereas in the past some had to be cancelled,' said Adams. 'They're all full to capacity. It seems like everybody wants to get in here and be a part of it.'

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