Paper dolls unify students
Laughter and conversation echoed throughout the stairwell in Bldg. 4 on Thursday, Feb. 13, as students gathered to create paper dolls they felt represented them.
Nancy Grace Horton, a photographer and artist, hosted the event. Inspired by an art gallery she had attended, Horton decided to incorporate paper dolls into her work, which focuses on gender and identity.
“I think that having an open activity that has no attachment to being graded or having to perform a certain way when the topic is about gender…[is] such an evocative way to bring people together and have a safe place to feel that they can be themselves,” she said. “I think it’s a way of being supportive, [and] having a supportive environment.”
Horton was invited by Deanne Beausoleil, an instructor and curator for the art gallery.
“We always have [Chemeketa Makes] coincide with the show that’s going on in the gallery and Nancy’s one of our artists,” Beausoleil said. “I read about Nancy’s paper doll project, and it asks people to make paper dolls in any way that person wants to and express themselves in any way they want to. That’s something that’s important to us in the Art department, and so it seemed like a very good fit to have Nancy come here and do this with us.”
“I think that art is profound,” Horton said, “It’s something that’s always eliminated from education, yet it is truly one of the more important things a young person or anyone can learn because it’s freedom of expression.
Even if students didn’t relate their work to gender and identity, they still had a creative outlet to get their ideas out and converse with one another.
Paige King, a student at Chemeketa, said, “It’s really fun to do and just goof off if you want to, or if you really want to do something that does represent yourself then that’s awesome to do as well.”
“It just lets me get out my ideas that are in my head,” said Race Martin, a Chemeketa student. “I don’t really care about being judged when it comes to expressing my ideas at all when it comes to any sort of art project, but just, in general. it’s a good way to get out anything I have in my head.”
“I think they’ve been able to express themselves in the dolls but, not only that,” said Beausoleil, “they’ve been able to express themselves in conversations.”