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Tualatin students' art is made to last in city collection


City reveals six winning pieces in Tualatin's Student Visual Chronicle

Painting of Tonquin Station by Tonya Mikheyeva. The Tualatin students' work is one of six to be purchased by the city and added to its permanent art collection.For a month, Tanya Mikheyeva painted and painted and painted until she’d matched an image of Tonquin Train Station. The tracks were the hardest part, and at one point the 14-year-old Tualatin High School freshman had to completely redo them. Luckily, she was working with acrylic paints, so all she had to do was wait for the paint to dry before she could try again.

When her art teacher, Jeannine Miller, saw her sketch out the image for the first time, she knew it was going to be a good piece, and she was correct. Mikheyeva created the piece for the Student Visual Chronicle, and it was one of six to be purchased by the city and added to the permanent art collection. Originally, four pieces were chosen, but two were added at the last minute. A reception was held by the city last week to honor the students who won and others who submitted art for consideration.

For Mikheyeva and the other students whose pieces were

selected for the public art project, this was a first glimpse into what it would be like to create art for a living. Each winner received $75 for the submitted piece, all of which were placed in archive frames to be hung in buildings around Tualatin.

When she was first starting her piece, Mikheyeva had the urge to quit several times. It was a more realistic representation than she’s used to creating, and she didn’t realize the amount of math and angles that would be involved. But having a goal and purpose for the piece drove her to follow through.

“It was a great experience because you got to see what it’s like to actually do something for someone else and get paid for it. You felt like you were a professional. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s a different experience from just drawing for yourself,” said Mikheyeva. “When you’re drawing for yourself, you don’t really care. When it’s for an actual ‘something,’ and you’re doing something that’s big and you actually try, then it brings out the best in you.”

For 16-year-old sophomore Morgan McMasters, the Student Visual Chronicle was the first time she was able to test her photography skills on a professional stage. Having always loved drawing, McMasters took a photography class for the first time this year, which was when she really began experimenting with the craft. In her class, she learned new techniques, and decided that for the Visual Chronicle she wanted to work with reflections. So, on a cloudy April night, McMasters went to the marshes behind Haggen with her photographer father to try and capture an image of the blood moon, which is a total lunar eclipse that causes the moon to exhibit a reddish color for a short period of time.

Clouds kept rolling in and hiding the moon, forcing McMasters to wait for an hour before she could get her shot. In the final image, the bright blood moon shines high in the sky, with its reflection beaming off the water below. While she had the exposure open, a plane flew in front of the moon and the glow of its tail stretches across the picture like a shooting star.

“The blood moon doesn’t happen very often, and it’s a cool way to remember Tualatin while getting something that’s remembering this specific day in this year, and kind of connects more to me,” McMasters said. “I’m the artist that got the blood moon that one day.”

This sentiment is what the Student Visual Chronicle is all about —connecting students to their community while also allowing them to stretch their artistic muscles in a way that they might not have otherwise.