“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’

I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world … If you look for the helpers, you’ll know there’s hope.”

     — Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers)

The Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council recently launched their community “helpers” portrait art project.  The original plan was for a live gallery opening, but COVID caused them to to execute Plan B.  The gallery is available instead virtually at this link.

Who are Wilsonville’s Helpers?  WACC asked these questions:

  • Who are the people who give selflessly of themselves?
  • Who are the people who think of others first?
  • Who are the people who create experiences for others?
  • Who are the people who build us up, who make us feel special?
  • Who are the people that make our city a special place to live?

Throughout 2020, citizens of Wilsonville recognized and nominated “Helpers” in their community.  WACC collected stories and photographs from these individuals and the art students in Wilsonville’s public schools created narrative portraits to honor and celebrate them. This summer and fall, portraits of nearly 20 helpers “toured Wilsonville,” and all of the students creations are now featured on the WACC’s website in a virtual gallery.

Citizens honored are: Scott Hix, Christopher Shotola-Hart, Whitney Sweet, Elaine Swyt, Laura LaJoie, Lindsey Flores, Molly Kaleikilo, Angenette Escobar, Tayler Egan, Tom Styczynski, Bev Trover, Amanda Lopez, Sarah Haefner, Paul Missal, John Fitzgerald, Debi Carpenter, and Lindy Sproul.

This is a wonderful project.  Thank you to the WLWV (West Linn-Wilsonville School District) — Janice Yang and Angennette Escobar, Wilsonville H.S., and Troy Mathews, Inza R. Wood M.S. — Art Educators for guiding the student artists in creating these narrative portraits.  Also thanks to the grantors, sponsors and partners for helping make this project possible:  Regional Art & Culture Project (RACC), Clackamas County Cultural Coalition (CCCC), funding for the display stands and printing costs, Charbonneau Arts Association (CAA), and to the City of Wilsonville for helping  WACC solicit nominations through the monthly Boones Ferry Messenger publication.