Friday, June 5, 2009

Anne Lukas at Fox

Anne Lukas was chosen to serve as the spring 2009 Artist in Residence at Dorothy Fox Elementary, helping students create unique square-foot mosaic tile designs to go home with each child at the end of the year.

Lukas said, "I‘m new to teaching and so grateful to have this opportunity to work on a project of this scale. I hope it's been as valuable a learning experience for the children as it has been for me. Every day is new, and I love working with all the different age levels. I recently had my first class of kindergartners. As I was explaining a concept, one of the kids raised his hand to inform me, 'That’s not the way Curious George does it.' I didn’t really know how to respond to that one, but it had me smiling for the rest of the day."

What makes this project so exciting, Lukas added, is that the fifth graders find it as challenging as the kindergartners do.

"Contrast and simplicity of design are required to complete a tile mosaic of this size," she said. "These are both surprisingly advanced and challenging concepts. Assembling the random shapes of tile tightly together to fit within their design is like doing a puzzle. The brain functions required for art and creativity are just as important to develop as those required for the academic classes. Not only are the children having fun, they are developing fine motor skills and using higher level thinking and creativity."


500 students
dozens of dedicated parent volunteers
over 1000 pounds of tile
countless hours breaking, sorting and hauling over 1000 lbs of tile
14 gallons of adhesive
300 pounds of grout

Special Thanks To:
Dorothy Fox PTA and all the dedicated parent and teacher volunteers
Kathleen Meriwether, assistant teacher and organizer
Oregon Tile and Marble
Venice Genoa Tile LLC
Pratt and Larson Tile
Habitat for Humanity Restore
Adam Beck at Cascade General

Anne Lukas Studio
(360) 844-5413 cell
(360) 690-5533

Monday, October 27, 2008

More photos of the Portland Taiko performance at Dorothy Fox

These were taken by Brett Oppegaard, chair of the Artists in Residence committee for Dorothy Fox's PTA, on Oct. 17, 2008.

The Columbian features Portland Taiko's residency at Dorothy Fox

This Web video complemented a front page story about the Portland Taiko residency in The Columbian on Oct. 24, 2008.

ZACHARY KAUFMAN/The Columbian Rebecca Weinberg, 10, a fifth-grader at Dorothy Fox Elementary in Camas, learns traditional Japanese drumming from Portland Taiko musicians. Fox students soaked up a weeklong artist-in-residence program given by the troupe.

ZACHARY KAUFMAN/The Columbian Dominic Delgado, 10, learns traditional Japanese drumming at Dorothy Fox Elementary on Wednesday.

And here's a link to the story:

Camas students learn beat of a different drum

Ancient Japanese drumming technique taught to pupils

Thursday, October 23 | 10:17 p.m.


CAMAS — The entire portable classroom shook with a deep rumble.
With focus, exertion and smiles all around, 14 fifth-graders pounded on 14 waist-high drums, taking their verbal cue from Michelle Fujii, performer and instructor with Portland Taiko.

“Don doko don!”

“Tsuku tsu tsuku tsu!”

“Kara ka doko don!” Fujii shouted.

In a call-and-answer cycle, students beat rhythms of loud and soft strokes, or tapped the rims with their thick wooden drumsticks, called “bachi” (bah-chee).

All this week, members of the Pacific Northwest’s lone professional Japanese drumming company are teaching Dorothy Fox Elementary students their ancient, honored craft. One class at a time. That followed a memorable schoolwide assembly last Friday.

It’s most definitely a “hands-on” experience.

The artist-in-residence visit has exposed students, kindergarten on up, to critical tenets of taiko: respect, cooperation and perseverance.

There’s no sheet music. Drummers must listen to their leader’s call for one rhythm after another. Sometimes they yell to encourage each other, to help stoke a frenzied energy.

It takes stamina and determination to cap a lengthy set with a flourish — often a long, rolling drum roll that saps forearms, wrists, shoulders. Before and after sessions, drummers bow to each other in appreciation.

They must warm up properly to prepare for the full body and soul exercise.
That’s why Toru Watanabe, 31, with the same gymnast’s grace as his lithe companions, led the class through fluid callisthenics that featured stretches, poses, even a self-applied facial and neck massage.

“I should do this every morning,” said Julie Struyk, a fifth-grade teacher who limbered up, too.

As Fujii, 34, told students, “We believe that our rhythm comes from the ground. It comes from the ground all the way to our fingers.

“It takes our whole body to drum,” she said.

After a solid hour-plus of learning and playing, Struyk’s charges departed, a bit weary but quite pleased.

“It was fun, just the energy of it,” said Schyler Black, 10. He elaborated: “I’m a percussionist. I just like banging on stuff.”

Fujii, Watanabe and Taiko colleague Teresa Enrico, 50, travel to reach between 15,000 and 20,000 schoolchildren in a single school year. And not just in the Northwest: Their most recent stint was in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Thanks to $8,000 raised by the Dorothy Fox Parent-Teacher Association and a $2,000 grant from the Camas Educational Foundation, Fox students got the full immersion treatment.

“These sorts of weeklong (stays) are so rare,” Fujii said. They’re also physically demanding, but with a payoff.

“It’s real easy to introduce the drum. When you approach the drum for the first time, it rewards you,” Fujii said. “As we see the kids’ excitement and energy, it really feeds us.”

Howard Buck: 360-735-4515 or

Do Jump!

Gave two performances at Dorothy Fox Elementary on Feb. 2, 2009, funded by the Camas Educational Foundation, and sponsored by the Fox PTA.

History of this program since 2008

Recent residencies:

* Alan Adams, spring 2008, gave a storytelling workshop combined with a clay mask-making activity. Each student created a character and a mask to represent that conception. The children then were able to keep the masks and bring them home for display.

* Michael Allen Harrison, spring 2008, the professional composer and pianist from Portland spent a week with the kids, creating original songs for each class. Harrison recorded a CD of the music, with the kids providing the vocals, and performed a school-wide concert to show off the accomplishment.

We would like to document the history of this program as far back as we can. But we need your help. If you know about any of the artists-in-residence activities prior to 2008, please send that information (and pictures, if you have them) to: