Walk into Red Chair Gallery this month and you'll notice a rich, diverse tapestry of art.
Nothing unusual there.
But if you look closely at a section right up front, something unexpected happens. You begin to realize that this entire area's dedicated to artists still in high school. It's Red Chair's sixth annual "Emerging Artists" show featuring students from Bend, Mountain View and Summit high schools. But other than a placard pointing this out, many of us would likely never know.
"The quality of the work just gets better every year," says gallery owner (and artist) Dee McBrien-Lee. "When we began the show six years ago we had what I felt was some skepticism from the students. The artwork was less professional, oft times darker than what we see today. Now it seems they create much of the work with the show in mind and the quality bears this out."
The work includes paintings, fashion design, glasswork and more—all for sale. McBrien-Lee feels this opportunity infuses young artists with confidence. "Being able to submit work and acceptance of works encourages free expression and builds self-esteem," she says.
Art's also an important and wonderfully creative way for young people to relate to each other. "I think that there is such a variety of expression in the work that it may give them some insight into one another," McBrien-Lee says. "I also think it may create connections where there might not have been one before.
"Art can be an expression of something deep or it can be something pretty to look at, but it should be shared."
The show runs through April.
Red Chair Gallery
103 NW Oregon Ave., Bend
Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm, Sun. Noon-4pm