By Minda Brusse, Community Programs Manager
As a member of the Northwest Art League & Community Outreach committee, Brea Burkholz ended the 2013-14 League year with a substantial project in the works. When her committee discussed the idea of using the League’s artpiece Yellow No Same with a Bellevue middle school, Brea jumped in and took the lead.
The art piece, by Roger Shimomura, focuses on the Japanese-American internment experience and is new to our 80+ piece Northwest Art Collection. Middle school students in Bellevue study this history topic in the eighth grade, and we thought this particular piece would be a new lens through which to learn about the experience. League member and middle school teacher Susie Challancin connected us with teachers at Chinook Middle School where she teaches.
Historically, Northwest Art committees work with kids ages 6-12, but increasingly we are testing the waters with teens. Small project events in the past few years at the Ryther Center (with the League’s Done in a Day committee) and at Treehouse (with the League’s Life Skills:Teens committee) have been successful.
Even though it was already April and the docenting would not occur until June (the next League year), Brea forged ahead gathering other volunteers from around the NW Art committees, as well as provisionals and sustainers. Her enthusiasm, organization, and determination were catching.
Brea used the resources of the League to grow as a community leader and demonstrated League President Megan Isenhower’s theme for the year, What We Are. The attributes she demonstrated were:
- Facilitating, docenting, and supporting new docents during seven class periods.
- We covered art and cultural stereotypes on a Friday in June, the day before the eighth graders were graduating. Brea kept them participating and in line with a great presence. No small feat!
- Developing the draft of a new curriculum with our Art & Education Curator.
- Meeting with middle school teachers to review the curriculum and plan events for the day to fully pilot the curriculum.
- Training the docents and assigning clear roles.
- Evaluating teacher feedback and working with the Art & Education Curator to finalize a draft curriculum to be leveraged in the years ahead.
- Recruiting four weekday volunteer docents from within the League. Some were (barely) first year actives. One first-year active had her first docenting experience that Friday.
- Training and communicating with the docents, teachers and our Art & Education Curator about facilitating seven class periods with 271 eighth grade students.
Brea showed the best attributes of What We Are. She’s the 2014-2015 Chair of Northwest Art League and Community Outreach and the League is lucky to have such a phenomenal leader guiding Northwest Art’s outreach!