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,
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, 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
Q: How did you get into the role? How did
you find yourself in leadership in the
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
Q: What experiences best prepared you for
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
On Monday, June 10 students celebrated
their work with shared self-reflections and a
dedication of the installation.
See Willamette Art Center, Page 5