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Professions in the Art Brought Alive at Portland's King K-8 School
Professions in the Art Brought Alive at Portland's King K-8 School

Portland State University's College of the Arts is bringing contemporary art to a Northeast Portland K-8 school. The King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) is a museum collaboratively created by faculty members Lisa Jarrett, Harrell Fletcher, and students. The museum, located within the school, features work by young students and internationally recognized artists.

Students at the school take on the roles of curators, installers, publicists, copywriters, registrars, and docents and gain knowledge of museum practices and careers during the experience. KSMoCA reimagines the way museums, public schools, and universities shape people, culture, and perspectives by cultivating a space for art to educate within and beyond the classroom.

The KSMoCA also offers an artist mentorship program. In this program, artists in the Portland area work with K-8 students at the school in a long-term mentoring relationship. The program pairs selected students and mentors to facilitate meaningful relationships over the year. Together they explore artistic approaches of interest to both. Through the Artist Mentorship Program, volunteer mentors spend an hour a week working one-on-one with the students in an open studio designed to foster, model and support the development of individual creative practice while providing a space for the students to experience what it's like to be an artist.

Together, with King School PSU also launched the first KSMoCA International Art Fair. The art fair is the culmination of nearly 60 hours of specialized training that a select group of K-6 King and PSU students received on commercial art fair practices. Seventeen internationally recognized exhibitors displayed original works that were available for purchase through a program that uniquely pairs each booth with students who participate as gallerists, artists, and sales and curatorial project assistants. Visitors found works ranging from experimental publications by young artists to museum-quality paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, social practice, comics, and new media.
Each rotating exhibition at King school is open for two months. The public is welcome to visit the museum by appointment and during selected open hours.
By Amy Spring