The Right Brain Initiative


Community art show extends learning for King students.

August 14th, 2013 by Right Brain Team

Visit the 2nd floor community room of the historic  North Portland Library this month and you’ll find a unique student art show. Step inside to see incredible black-and-white photographs and writing created by 1st and 2nd graders at King School. This community show celebrates Right Brain’s partnership with King, one of eight schools in the nation selected to be a part of the Turnaround Arts program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

A King 2nd grader poses with her teacher in front of her completed artwork.

A King 2nd grader poses with teacher Kayci Murray in front of her completed artwork at the show opening event. Photo by Leah Verwey.

This artwork was created during a Right Brain experience last spring with Right Brain teaching artist Julie Keefe. Through photography and writing, students explored their role within their neighborhood, which directly connected to the school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum. By sharing the completed work at the library, we let the community in on the process. And, simultaneously, it became an incredible extension of the students’ learning experience. All 1st and 2nd grade classes took a field trip to the library—just down the street from the school—to see the work, undoubtedly bringing some of the students to the building for the very first time. 


Teaching artist Julie Keefe leads kids to take portraits of attendees at the opening event. Photo by Leah Verwey.

At the opening reception for this art show last month, we served ice cream floats. Kids took black-and-white photographs of event attendees. We heard statements from Carole Smith, superintendent of Portland Public Schools; Kim Patterson, King School Principal; and Julie Keefe about the impact of this residency and the value of working with Right Brain. Students were able to interact with the public, receive praise and answer questions about their work.

For King students and teachers, for the North Portland Library, the school district, for Right Brain, this was a win-win-win-win.

Thank you to the incredible Leah Verwey for snapping  photos for us at this opening event. See a few more glimpses below of what took place. 


Community guests enjoy a video about the process of this Right Brain experience at King School.


An event attendee creates her own portrait and writing on the spot with the help of Julie Keefe and a portable photo printer.


Event attendees respond to prompts asking them to reflect on their neighborhood—just as the students did in class during their Right Brain experience.


Left to right: Carole Smith, superintendent of Portland Public Schools; Lew Frederick, Oregon State Representative and Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) Board Member; meet with Jeff Hawthorne, RACC’s Director of Community Affairs.


Patricia Welch, Administrator at the North Portland Library


An event attendee views the completed photographs.


Event guests wait to receive their ice cream floats!

The exhibition will be up at the North Portland Library at 512 N. Killingsworth through the end of August, so please drop by to share in this experience!

See more images from this event—all taken by Leah Verwey—on Facebook and Flickr.

Read the full press release about this event.


Right Brain Team