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Artist honored

Lake Oswego senior Elise Wunderlich earns national Portfolio Gold Award for her art accomplisments
by: SUBMITTED PHOTOS At top left and right, Elise Wunderlich wears a sculpture of puzzle pieces, shown in close up at bottom left.

Lake Oswego High School senior Elise Wunderlich was recently honored with a Portfolio Gold Award, the highest level of achievement in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the country's longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative teenagers. She is one of just 15 high school seniors in the country honored with the Portfolio Gold Award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize.

The graduating seniors who receive national awards are now eligible for $5 million in scholarships from more than 60 colleges, universities and art institutes across the country.

Wunderlich has been successful in art throughout her high school career and this does not mark the first time she has been honored with Scholastic Art Awards. However, earning the Portfolio Gold Award on the national level was confirmation that she has acquired extraordinary talent as an artist.

She credits her success to the intensive program she attended this fall at Oxbow in Napa, Calif.

'Oxbow encouraged her to look at a wide variety of media which included performance art and sculpture,' said Katie Brink, one of Wunderlich's art teachers at LOHS. '...Now that she is back at LOHS she is the same sweet and humble girl who likes to spend her time in the art and drama classrooms, but she looks at her art from a more critical viewpoint.'

'Attending was an incredible experience,' Wunderlich said. 'By going to Oxbow it gave me a leg up. I definitely couldn't have predicted the work I made.'

At Oxbow she was required to take English, history and environmental science classes, however the course material was interdisciplinary in nature, all with an art base.

'We were mentally and physically engrossed in art,' she said. 'I put all of myself into art creation.'

Like most college seniors, Wunderlich is waiting to hear from the colleges of her choice, among them Rhode Island School of Design and Maryland Institute College of Art.Prior to winning the Portfolio Gold Award she was considering focusing on costume design, an industry in which she felt certain she could succeed. But her experience at Oxbow has her considering other possibilities.

'I'm thinking of the possibility of just making art for art's sake - being a studio artist,' she said. 'My motivation is high and I've worked so hard and put so much of myself into making noteworthy art. … Will I have a chance at this?

'It's overwhelming - the art I was making when I got inside my head. And then winning the national Gold Key! - it puts me in the category of talents like Andy Warhol! I'm just still trying to take it all in.'