Throughout April at the Red Chair Gallery in downtown Bend, aspiring high school students will experience the ins and outs of a "real world" art show—from the jury selection process to hanging and pricing and (hopefully) selling their work.
For the past four years—almost as long as the gallery has been in existence—the women at the helm of Red Chair Gallery have taken their model of representation for local artists to area high schools with the goal of encouraging young artistic talent and entrepreneurship.
"We view ourselves as very community-minded," said co-owner Lise Hoffman-McCabe. "We're trying hard to give the students real experience [by] giving local artists representation where they might not have it otherwise."
The students whose work will be on display during the First Friday Art Walk are required by the gallery to sign a standard 30-day contract outlining commission rates, payment schedules, and gallery requirements. For many, this will be the first time that their art has been for sale in a retail space.
"The only real stumbling block is that [the art] must be framed to gallery specifications—no picture hangers or Plexiglas," said Hoffman-McCabe.
For students Nicole Bitterlich and Chloe Baker, their gallery experience will continue throughout the month as the two young women embark on an internship experience to include jurying art from other schools, working four-hour shifts at the gallery, and participating in workshops taught by the established artists represented at Red Chair.
"If you're planning on being an artist as a side job or as a career rather than a hobby, it's extremely helpful if you can get your nose in the business when you're young," said Bitterlich, a senior at Bend High School who plans to pursue a career in the Air Force.
Mountain View High School student Chloe Baker will be showing her fractured self-portrait, titled "All Eyes on Me," which also won a Scholastic Gold Key and American Visions Award this winter. Although she was part of the gallery's showcase last year, she is excited to have her work seen by an audience, and to support her classmates whose pieces will hang alongside hers.
"It feels a bit unreal to have a piece you've worked so hard on to actually be appreciated by an audience or be lucky enough to have a buyer," said Baker. "I am very excited for the art walk, mainly to see the faces of my classmates who also got into this showing when they see their work on the walls."