Woodland High School unveiled “Reflections,” an art sculpture by internationally-renowned artist, Tim Prentice, during a public ceremony on Friday, October 30. Community members, state officials, and school staff gathered as members of the school’s art selection committee, notable local officials, and a member of the artist’s team presented the new work displayed prominently in the high school’s entry.
Woodland High School received a $90,000 grant to hire Tim Prentice to produce the piece from ArtsWA, the Washington State Arts Commission. “Tim Prentice’s work is really luminous but it’s also durable, so this piece will be here for the life of the building,” said Mike Sweney, a Program Manager for the state’s arts program. “‘Reflections’ is now part of more than 4,500 pieces of art in 1,200 locations throughout Washington making up the state’s art collection.”
Karin Chase, Art Commissioner for the City of Woodland, spoke to the crowd about why the art selection committee chose the piece. “We were really attracted to the movement of the piece and how it will reflect the light entering the building,” she said. “When we were selecting the piece, the more I looked at Tim’s work, the more I liked his approach and the materials he selects.”
Michael Smith, Woodland High’s 2D/3D art teacher, introduced members of the art selection committee and spoke about what goes on behind the scenes when selecting a public art piece of this scope. “When putting together the committee, we wanted to bring together a broad range of perspectives of what art is and means,” he said. “We wanted a piece that would represent Woodland, and this piece does just that with the undulating panels representing the wind blowing through Woodland’s trees while the reflected light in the panels feels like light being reflected off of Woodland’s rivers, streams and lakes.”
“Reflections” was created by Tim Prentice and his partner, David Colbert, who was on-site to present the piece and how it came into being to the audience. “This piece has been one of our better installations thanks to selection committee understanding how the air moving through the space would affect the movement of the piece,” said Colbert. “I highly recommend that members of the community occasionally stop by the school during late afternoon or around sunset on a clear day to see how the light coming through the windows will completely transform the sculpture.”
Among the many audience members were current art students of all ages finding inspiration in the new piece. Mckayla Shippen, a freshman at Woodland High School, has been taking classes from Mr. Smith since the seventh grade, and spoke highly of the district’s art program. “I enjoy art because I like how artists can focus on the nice things in life to make the viewer happy,” she said. “What makes Mr. Smith such an excellent teacher is how supportive he is of his students; he’ll do whatever he can to ensure we achieve our goals, and it definitely helps that he’s an incredibly talented artist himself.”