Big Stories: July, 2019   
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Full July 2019 Issue * Salem Weather * Past Issues * About Us * Ad Rates * Contact Us

     

An interview with Jennifer Martin
Inspiring Leaders and Non-profits

Jennifer Martin is a great
example of a leader who uses
her professional skills to aid
a worthy nonprofit.
To learn more about Isaac’s Room,
visit www.isaacsroom.org.

    This month's interview with Jennifer Martin, Board Chair of the nonprofit organization, Isaac's Room.

Q: Tell us about your nonprofit:
A: WE HELP DIVESTED YOUNG PEOPLE BUILD THE CAPACITY TO RISE TO THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE.

    Here's the story behind this amazing organization. Mark and Tiffany Bulgin, the founders of Isaac's Room, lost their first son Isaac in 1998, at two months old. Isaac's Room is their effort to extend the family love and support they would have eagerly given Isaac throughout his life to the young people in our community who have suffered from a shortage of it throughout theirs. Just as the room that Isaac was supposed to live in is physically empty and therefore available, the space we make in our lives for our own kids is now available through Isaac's Room.
    Isaac's Room, at its core, identifies and develops youth aging out of the foster care system by teaching them they are the hero of their own story and that they CAN change their path and they have the power and control to make a difference in their own lives.

Q: How did you get into the role? How did you find yourself in leadership in the organization?
A: I have known Tiffany for about 20 years and our paths would cross in the community occasionally. However, about three years ago, I became very actively involved with helping Isaac's Room identify a location for a second coffee shop. IKE Box, the coffee shop owned by Isaac's Room serves as a job training launch pad for the youth served by Isaac's Room. But the coffee shop was at full capacity and we needed more internship and apprenticeship job opportunities for "our kids." Through that experience, it became clear that I had a deeper passion for this organization other than just as a real estate broker.

Q: What experiences best prepared you for this role?
A: See page 23 of this month's SBJ


Marion County Fair
Promises Family Fun and Entertainment

Country Superstars, Restless Heart,
Bring Their Classic Sound to the Main Stage

    The annual Marion County Fair is just around the corner and kicks off an extended weekend of family fun from July 11-14 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Friday and Saturday nights will feature two big nights of entertainment featuring national country performers Restless Heart and Jerrod Niemann.
    Each day of the fair offers family-friendly activities with something for everyone!
    Thursday, July 11, is Honor Day. Seniors, veterans, and military service members enjoy free admission all day. A special tribute to veterans takes place on the main stage at 5:30 p.m. Stop by the Real Heroes area to learn about fire, police, and military services.
    Friday, July 12, is an Awesome Day. The first 3,000 fairgoers wearing an Awesome 3000 t-shirt will get in for free! Carnival rides, inflatables, and more will keep you busy all day and ready to hear country legends Restless Heart on the main stage at 8:30 p.m.
    Restless Heart, with 25 top 40 country hits and six number one hits over the past three decades, will headline Friday night on the main stage. Restless Heart has enjoyed one of the most successful careers in country music history, delighting fans with blockbuster songs that are now considered country classics.
    Agriculture Day is every day at the fair, but especially Saturday! Rodeo fans - Wild West Events is back - with their action packed rough stock challenge on Saturday night, followed by Jerrod Neimann live on the main stage.
    Niemann's 2018 hit "Old Glory" will fit right in with the Real Heroes area at the fair. He describes the ballad as, "One-hundred percent heart, zero percent politics."
    A veteran of multiple USO Tours, Niemann said he knew how much those heroes were willing to sacrifice in the name of duty - from missing their children's first steps and soccer games to holidays, anniversaries, and so much more.
    See Marion County Fair, Page 2



Willamette Art Center
Foundations Support
Outreach to Salem Schools



    At a recent dedication of an amazing student-created sculptural installation at Adam Stephens Middle School, a number of students shared their observations about their creative process and product. Art was described as a way to "get away from the stress of school," and as a way to express students' interests, beliefs and talents.
    One comment stood out above many, though, as an advanced art student described a struggle that she faced with her clay project as a metaphor for a life lesson. "A few pieces fell off," she said, "but that is like life. Things fall apart, but you just learn from it and move on."
    Although the concept of leaving a legacy is often associated with those planning for their later years, in three Salem-Keizer schools this spring, the Willamette Art Center worked with students and their teachers to carry out Legacy Sculpture Projects.
    The projects, intended to build long-term pride and student ownership in their schools, involved guiding students through the creation of stacked clay sculptural pieces mounted in columns, a concept based on Native American carved wooden statues.
    These projects were funded by the William S. Walton Charitable Foundation, the Salem Foundation (Clifford J. and Grace M. Taylor Fund) and the Willamette Art Center.

Adam Stephens Middle School

    Adam Stephens Middle School Teacher Gladys Jacobsen was the first Salem middle school teacher to sign on to the William S. Walton-funded middle school grant project. Jacobsen and Pam Prosise, Willamette Art Center's Outreach Coordinator, developed a theme for the school installation, which was to be created as a display in two alcoves of the Stephens library. Jacobsen's art students sketched out their individual pieces that reflected self, family or community using rectangular, cylindrical or ovoid shapes. They then practiced working with Soldate, a special sculptural clay, creating smaller cylindrical connecting pieces.
    Nikki Svarvaruud, Willamette Art Center's Technician and instructor, joined Jacobsen and Prosise at Stephens to instruct each student in how to build a core shape. Students worked with pinch-pot and slab forms to develop the foundation for their pieces, then decorated using a variety of familiar and new grant-funded tools such as texture mats, cutting tools and molds. Once pieces were bisque fired, the first of two kiln processes through which clay is taken, students chose Mason stains in their school colors to stain their pieces. Finally, they coated them with a clear glaze to make them shiny after the glaze firing.
    Because of the unique location of the sculptures, which were to be mounted atop library shelves, Prosise and Jacobsen determined that two specialized welded steel stands were required. Despite a short timeline, local Salem business Martin Metal Fabricators not only completed the project in time, but also donated almost half of the cost of the stands.
    On Thursday, June 6, students dedicated the Adam Stephens Legacy sculptures. Students shared writing from thoughtful reflections on their sculpture and process, and staff from Salem-Keizer schools and the Willamette Art Center were in attendance.
    After students added a few final pieces to the sculptures, the two pieces were unveiled to enthusiastic applause.

Claggett Creek Middle School

    Claggett Creek art teacher Valerie Duncan was eager for an engaging end-of-the-year project for her 7th and 8th grade ceramics students. Planning around her two classes focused on creating group sculptural elements. Like Stephens Middle School students, Duncan's young artists designed sculptural elements for self, family or community, then chose and joined groups of three to four to develop a group vision for each of the 18 pieces. This project was also funded by the Walton Foundation.
    Duncan's class sculptural elements were created on a larger scale that those at Stephens because the final sculpture was to be permanently displayed in the art room, stacked and affixed to the wall. The challenge of building the shapes to fit this unique configuration required problem-solving as students wrestled with large clay slabs and the challenge of supporting the structures as they were built. Teams collaborated to determine the designs they would add, and to decide whether they would create the designs by embedding pattern into the shapes with carving or texture tools or by attaching pieces made with slabs or molds.
    Duncan's students chose glazes from a limited color palette, chosen to tie the sculptural pieces together. The pieces were glazed before being fired, so went through a single firing process. Once the elements were fired, students arranged the pieces into two tall columns based on size, shape and color, and the sculptures were temporarily installed into "performance pieces" for photographs. The two tall sculptures were then divided into four shorter designs for permanent display.
    On Monday, June 10 students celebrated their work with shared self-reflections and a dedication of the installation.
    See Willamette Art Center, Page 5