A work of art for healing
One of the art pieces educators and visitors will see when the WEA headquarters in Federal Way re-opens is that of a powerful human body with the grace and strength of a crane rising against a vibrant sun. It is an image, artist Lauren Butterworth, hopes will invoke a feeling of reconciliation and healing.
"When people look at my art, I want them to be hopeful," says Butterworth, a senior at Redmond High School. "Especially right now, when you see all the systemic problems that contribute to racism like the school to prison pipeline, and the model minority myth, it can be really overwhelming and feel hopeless."
Instead, the high schooler wants to focus on steps to facilitate healing.
"Rather than getting trapped in that headspace, I wanted to express a more positive outlook. That there are steps we can take toward helping the problem, like education, equity programs, accessibility, and reconciliation. Racism only becomes a lost cause, when we get complacent, and nothing gets done."
Butterworth's piece, "Dressed Wounds," is one of this year’s state winners in the Superintendent's High School Art Show, an annual event that celebrates arts in education in Washington schools. High school students from all nine of the state's educational service districts (ESD) participate in this artistic celebration each year. The finalists from these regional ESD shows are invited to participate in the Superintendent’s High School Art Show where 13 individuals and organizations, one of which includes WEA, select the state winners. Jurors’ Choice and Honorable Mention awards are selected by a panel of 20 jurors, comprised of artists, museum educators, gallery owners, arts educators and arts administrators.
WEA President Larry Delaney said WEA selected Butterworth's piece because "Lauren’s work speaks to the complexities of the work that we all must undertake to become anti-racist educators." The piece, he says, will be displayed as a reminder of the work we all must do.
Amy Chackel, one of Butterworth’s teachers, praises Butterworth's technical skill and visual awareness.
"What I have been most inspired by, however, is their use of art as a vehicle for investigating and critiquing social issues. 'Dressed Wounds' is part of a larger body of work which illuminates the marginalized experiences of LGBTQ and BIPOC in various forms of media. It is a powerful work of art within a moving and influential series. I have learned so much from Lauren this year and can't wait to see how their art will change the world."
Watch Redmond High student Lauren Butterworth and WEA President Larry Delaney speak about the significance of "Dressed Wounds."
Watch the complete Superintendent’s 48th Annual High School Art Show held May 20.