Tequila Event Center and KOBI-TV Studio C
Exhibit LIFE Art Paintings October 2-4
LIFE Art — Live, Inspire, and Freedom of Expression — is an after-school art program that’s in seven Jackson County schools and is about 150 students strong. Founded in 2009, by Phil Ortega, LIFE Art was originally set up to give at-risk students an artistic outlet. The message and outreach have broadened since then. Now, the program is more about providing a program for all interested students looking for a place where they can feel connected.
LIFE Art studio, located at 312 Middleford Alley in Medford, is open to the public every month during Medford’s Third Friday Art Walk where students can be seen creating new pieces on-site. Many of the art pieces featured below were initiated during the Art Walk and then completed at home or at the LIFE Art studio. All artwork is available for sale. Each artist contributes 20 percent of the sale to LIFE Art as a way to replenish the art supplies. The remaining 80 percent is theirs to keep. Phil points out, “When their art is purchased, it validates them, the process and their thinking. Whatever doesn’t sell, we put in the schools they attend to give them a sense of ownership and visibility.” LIFE Art paintings will be on display at the Tequila Event Center and KOBI-TV Studio C during the Festival from October 2 to 4.
LIFE Art follows a hierarchical progression that is fundamental to supporting fellow students and the longevity of the program itself.
“First, a student has an idea,
then that idea becomes a piece of art.
When that piece of art is finished, they tell their story.
Once they tell their story
and understand the concept, it’s time to
mentor someone else.”
Phil Ortega, Program Director and founder
To learn more about LIFE Art, make a donation, purchase a painting, or refer someone to the program, contact Phil Ortega at Ortegap@eaglepnt.k12.or.us
“Every day I put on a disguise barely good enough to blend into the shadows, where rudiment tones of pain stain the corners. I’ve always tried to gain a perspective that was untouched, untainted, and one of my very own. I paint as a way to rinse my conscience and vulnerabilities. It takes me to a place that lets me reconnect with the deepest parts of me, the parts that keep metogether. My brain tries to limit these things but my art sets them free. By letting these connections come naturally, I am able to dive into a new spectrum of self-acceptance.” ~ Brandy
Referred to the LIFE Art program by his school principal three years ago for constantly acting out, Brian is now thriving. Everyone in his school thought he was a gang member. This first painting entitled, New Life, expresses his desire to start fresh. “I don’t want to be labeled as a thug, I wanted to start over. I wanted my own life.” He’s now involved in soccer and performing well in school.
Kevin had a history of unlawful graffiti (or tagging). Since joining LIFE Art three years ago, he is redirecting his energy onto canvas, instead. This piece, is a testament to new found hope.