I was assigned the job of creating my son’s 8th grade class auction
project. Every year each class at our small private catholic school has
a unique item that goes up for live bidding. This is an especially
important year because 8th grade is the graduating year for this school
and all the students will be scattered across the greater Seattle area
in various high schools.

Lucky for us, we have the amazing John Curley, from King 5’s Evening Magazine,
as our auctioneer, hence our live items usually go for pretty big
bucks! The classroom chairperson definitely wanted photos in the class
project, but from past experience I’ve learned that photos of children,
other than our own, doesn’t make very popular heirloom wall art.


So, as I usually do, I worked backwards on this project. What I wanted to bring to the auction was a piece that:

•    Is neutral enough in color and design that it will fit into any home’s décor.
•    Creates a profound emotional effect on, not only the owner of the art, but on anyone.
•    A timeless mature design that would include all 47 children without being overwhelming.

The original idea was to have the 47 children stand hand-in-hand, with their backs to the camera, looking out over the Puget Sound (at the beach only a few miles from our school). Puget_sound
This panoramic scene would then be slightly artistically altered. Well because of our harsh winter weather and school closures we couldn’t pull this off. So as a backup plan I asked that the children stand in groups of 7 or so in front of our stage curtains and I would extract them from the photos and digitally put them on the beach! Molly Schneider  helped me with the extractions, very time consuming. She did a beautiful job.

Using photoshop, I brought together a stock photo of the ocean, 47 kids from 7 photos, a small sentimental phrase. I then tweaked the piece slightly giving it a water colored appearance.8thgrade  Done! The final art piece was professionally printed on an archival 40” long x 20” high x 1.5” wide gallery wrapped canvas.

I believe that what we ended up with was so unbelievably moving that we successfully encapsulated this moment in time beautifully. Some words that come to mind: friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood, community, future, endless possibilities…It still chokes me up!

I’m happy to say that our art project was very popular and ended up raising over $2500 for our school. What a wonderful ending to the beginning of our children’s future.