Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Art show to benefit Cambodia schools

Erica Evansí senior project to include auction at Sun Valley Center

Express Staff Writer

Wood River High School senior Erica Evans wants to help children in Cambodia make art. Photo by David N. Seelig

Students in the Wood River Valley have a growing tradition of doing good things for the world. They found nonprofit groups, travel abroad to help out with non-governmental organizations and contribute philanthropic ideas to the local community.

Erica Evans, a senior at Wood River High School, has plans to bring the gift of art to children in Cambodia.

"I feel that culture is built off of the arts," said Evans, a member of the Amnesty International Club at Wood River High School.

Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization. Its stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."

Evans' senior project will include gathering donated paintings, photography, sculptures and other artwork from the area and sell them at a silent auction on Friday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts classroom in Hailey.

Proceeds from sales of the artwork will be used to purchase art supplies that will be shipped to rural areas in Cambodia that were ravaged by the Khmer Rouge communists during the 1970s.

Evans took ceramics classes as a sophomore and now enjoys painting and sketching as part of her studio art class. The idea for her senior project came from her boss, Carol Knight, the owner of the Toy Store in Ketchum.

"I can't imagine art not being a part of my life," she said. "That's why I want to share it with these kids in Cambodia."

Amnesty International founder Larry Cox gave a keynote address at a conference attended by Evans two years ago, while she was on a trip to San Francisco with the Amnesty International Club.

"I learned that human rights have been violated around the world," Evans said.

She and others in the Amnesty International Club have participated in human rights awareness campaigns at the high school and in the community, including participation at the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival and at the Festival of Women film festival

"As a result of becoming a member of Amnesty International, I decided I want to go into international studies and cultural studies in the future," Evans said.

Her plans after graduation include a year of study abroad in Costa Rica.

When Knight suggested that Evans consider Cambodia as a place to focus her energies, Evans got on the Internet and found out about the Cambodian School Project, an organization that builds schools in rural areas near Angkor Wat, an ancient temple complex.

She corresponded with Roger Garms, secretary of the Cambodian School Project, and arranged for proceeds from her art auction to benefit young students at the project's schools.

Her senior project also includes conducting research on the Khmer Rouge atrocities and human rights violations during the 1970s, which led to impoverished conditions in the region.

"I chose this project to raise money for the Cambodian people," Evans said. "There are four schools in the Cambodian School Project that don't have basic supplies. They are slowly getting back on their feet."

Evans has sent letters to artists in the community soliciting artwork for the auction. A silent auction of the work will take place at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Hailey on Friday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Evans at 720-9024.

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