Students create and deliver art for Union Gospel Mission

by: STAFF PHOTOS: CAITLIN TOMPKINS - WLHS students Kathy Zumbado, left, and Shalie Reay created a large art piece together of a tree and rainbow as a gift to the residents at the LifeChange Center for Women and their Children. Other art students created more art which was given to the center.

West Linn High School art students were given a project intended to challenge their artistic skills, and push them to find hope in the midst of arduous circumstances.

A woman named Katie spoke to Diane Gauthier’s West Linn High School art class regarding her experience with childhood abuse, addiction and domestic abuse, which left her with two broken legs. Katie and her daughter joined the Union Gospel Mission’s new LifeChange Center for Women and their Children to receive help dealing with their past trauma and moving forward.

The center has provided women and children with safe housing, healthy meals, counseling services and childcare since December 2013.

“Some women come from painful pasts and the students did a good job with translating that into artwork,” said Stacy Kean, Union Gospel Mission spokeswoman.

Gauthier asked her students to create artwork inspired by Katie’s story. However, the focus was not entirely dedicated to this woman’s painful past. Instead, the art reflected the hope for recovery that members of the new women and children’s center are working toward.

“It is wonderful when we get the chance to share with people what is happening at the new women and children’s center, and it’s so exciting when people want to get involved,” said Gloria Hall, director of the LifeChange Center for Women and their Children.

Kathy Zumbado and Shalie Reay, both former art students in Gauthier’s class, delivered a dozen art pieces to the center on June 20. The artwork that Reay and Zumbado made together featured a bird stuck in the darkness and a rainbow that led to a place of peace and happiness. Despite the difficulty of hearing Katie’s story of abuse, Reay said she learned an important lesson.

“No matter what you go through, no matter how hard or ugly things get, there is always someone to help and save you. You’re not alone,” Reay said.

Prior to the delivery, the center’s hallways were empty and unadorned. The residents helped Reay and Zumbado select places to hang the artwork throughout the building.

“The center has changed the lives of many and will continue to. I will definitely create more art or help them in any way I can,” Reay said.

Beyond the LifeChange center, the Union Gospel Mission has provided meals to the homeless in the Portland area since 1927. For more information about the Union Gospel Mission or the LifeChange Center for Women and their Children, visit or call 503-802-2271.

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