May 31, 2012 in Washington Voices

Schoolmates create portraits of seniors

Deer Park artists draw on, hone skills
By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Deer Park High School senior Tyler Schuh builds a display of 26 portraits of classmates he sketched. Deer Park High School students have created portraits of each senior.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

The Facefolio Project

When: Friday, 5 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Where: Deer Park High School, 800 S. Weber Road

Cost: Free, but donations are welcome to help fund a keepsake publication of all of the portraits that will be given to Deer Park’s class of 2012 graduates, along with their original portraits. Any remaining proceeds will benefit the school’s art programs.

The artists: Sophomore Cleana Broman, freshman Anna Cartee, senior Colleen Clark, junior Brandon Clute, junior Sineala O’Neel, senior Alina Pichinevskiy, senior Michaela Roath, junior Nathan Roe, junior Allison Rummer, freshman Madison Schuh, senior Tyler Schuh, junior Elizabeth Sloan, senior Steven Staniforth, senior Logan Thomas, freshman Tiani Vierra and senior Nicholas Williams.

In June 2011, a group of student artists from Deer Park High School joined in an experimental artist circle. The group, led by Tyler Schuh, wanted to learn more about portraiture and sharpen drawing skills. Members decided on an ambitious venture: drawing portraits of each senior who would graduate with Schuh, calling it the Facefolio Project.

Sixteen DPHS students, including Schuh, have spent the past 11 months working on the project. About 150 portraits have been drawn from photos found on Facebook, senior Michaela Roath said.

Freshman Tiani Vierra said she spent more time on the drawings of people she knew. “Some faces, their features were so easy to draw, and others, it was more difficult to capture their face. But I found it easier to draw people I didn’t know,” she said.

Senior Nicholas Williams said it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s been “fun work.” He said it took him awhile to get into it, but once he started drawing, he couldn’t stop.

The project has been about more than creating artwork and helping the students hone their skills; it’s helped the artists develop friendships and given them courage to try new things and meet new people.

“It’s amazing how many people I’ve discovered, that I’ve never heard or seen. It’s amazing how far away you can be from the people in your class,” Roath said.

Vierra also said that the project, and spending time with her artist friends, has been therapeutic. “The project has been like medicine; my parents were going through a divorce, and it’s been tough at home. It was a healthy escape,” she said.

Schuh said his goal is to have the project grow to other high schools, not just in Spokane but across the country. “This project, whether in a big school, little school, rural or urban, as long as you have the right people who are passionate about it, it’ll succeed,” he said.

And it’s on its way. In the 2012-’13 academic year, the student-led project will potentially take place at Riverside High School; Deer Park Home Link, – the Deer Park homeschool program; and Lewis and Clark High School.

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