Elementary art decorates Pioneer Way businesses in Oak Harbor

Hillcrest Elementary art teacher Carla McCoy, center, discusses Jerrell Wilson’s artwork with him and his mother, Omega.   - Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times
Hillcrest Elementary art teacher Carla McCoy, center, discusses Jerrell Wilson’s artwork with him and his mother, Omega.
— image credit: Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

Pioneer Way has a new look for the week of Holland Happening.

Downtown storefront windows are decorated with colorful art created by elementary school students.

For the 13th year, Oak Harbor’s elementary schools are putting on an Art Walk to showcase the work students are creating in their art classes.

Carla McCoy, an art teacher at Hillcrest Elementary, said the show is held each year as a way to thank the community for passing the levies that allowed the art programs to exist.

“This is our 13th year to have it,” McCoy said. “It’s also the 13th year to have art teachers here in the school district. So our community has paid for, through levies, the art education program at the elementary schools, and so this is our way to thank everybody.”

Putting on the show is a lot of work, according to McCoy.

The art teachers ensure each piece is properly labeled so the artist is identified. They also write out invitations to each student whose art is being displayed.

It also takes some effort to crawl in and out of window displays to hang up each piece of art. But the difficult part is choosing what to hang up.

“Picking the student art is always a challenge,” said McCoy, “because you want to put everybody’s art in. But there’s not enough room.”

McCoy estimates there is somewhere around 1,200 to 1,300 pieces of art hanging along Pioneer Way, with at least 200 pieces of art from each elementary school.

“We probably have about 300 participants, and 350 art pieces, just from Hillcrest alone,” she said.

Many art pieces are displayed at the Wind and Tide Bookshop. Owner Karen Mueller said she participates in the elementary Art Walk every year.

“The kids really like to come and see their own art there,” Mueller said. “It’s fun for the kids to see with their parents and show their parents this is what they do.”

Though the presentation is a way to thank the community, McCoy said it wouldn’t be worth it if the students didn’t enjoy it.

“When the kids come down, it’s awesome,” she said.

“It’s important for the kids, it’s important for the community to know what the kids are doing, because they do some pretty impressive work.”

The art is displayed the week of Holland Happening and will be taken down on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on the school.


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