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Rural Inspiration

"I grew up and still live in Sunnyside, a farm and small business community in Central Washington. I miss the wide open spaces when I'm in an urban area. Acres and acres of houses stifle me – I can't think as well and I surely feel a lack of creativity.

Rural scenes and landscapes do inspire me and I believe they inspire our students as well. I appreciate these artworks that prompt the students to ask where and how they fit in and how they can add to their landscape. Are they so interested in reaching the goal that they are oblivious to the beauty of nature all around them?

The artworks I chose impressed me for a number of reasons. Nance Bracken's maps boggle my mind for the time that work took and the details they show. Daniel Galvez's huge mural honors the people who came before in their struggles to make a home in a remote place. Emotions are clearly pictured in Roger Jones' paintings. Common rural sights such as a grain elevators and wheat fields are shown with angular lines and rhythmic patterns that don't need much detail since they had me wanting to fill that in because of the similar places I knew. Lillian Pitt's 'Wanapum She Who Watches' mask watches the Puyallup students and would certainly cause me to stand straighter and deal honestly with my fellows! And Consuelo Soto-Murphy (who graduated from Sunnyside High School with my oldest daughter) paints the seemingly unending rows and bunches of grapes that are familiar around Sunnyside – a painting that appropriately hangs in the tasting room of the wine school on the Grandview campus of Yakima Valley College.

These artworks highlight the beauty, work, and opportunities that students have as their heritage and surroundings, as well as asking questions and provoking thought. Now 'What is my contribution??' the students can wonder."

–Written and curated by Jerri Honeyford.

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