‘It’s so humbling’: Yakima students showcase award-winning artwork in pop-up gallery

YAKIMA, Wash. — For the first time in the more than two years since the pandemic hit, Yakima student artists have the chance to showcase their work with an in-person art gallery.

The walls of the KIVA at A.C. Davis High School are lined with hundreds of pieces made by high school art students, creating a pop-up art gallery with an opening reception scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“We want everybody to see what these kids are doing,” drawing and painting teacher Carole Huls said.

Huls said several students in her art classes have already created award-winning artwork and have been noticed at the regional, state and national level.

However, she said the gallery is an opportunity for all of the students to showcase work that’s important to them. Some will be working on that art live during the opening reception.

“I always tell them, ‘I need three things from you: effort, a believing attitude that you can do this and perseverance,'” Huls said. “If you have those three things, you’re going to do great in art because art is a learned talent, but you’re also going to do great in life.”

Isabelle Ehlis: “I never really realized how much my art could impact other people.”

Isabelle Student Art Davis Yakima

Student artist and high school junior Isabelle Ehlis recently won first place this year in the annual statewide competition for the Superintendent’s High School Art Show with her self-portrait, Botanical Refuge.

“I kind of wanted to represent one of the most important aspects of my life helping me get through COVID, which was my garden,” Ehlis said.

Ehlis said she and her family turned to gardening to cope with the isolation and negativity during the pandemic.

Additionally, she said the recognition she received feels amazing and helped her solidify her passion for creating.

“Until quite recently,  I never really realized how much my art could impact other people,” Ehlis said. “I never really realized it was even something worth recognizing.”

Bella Levene: “We probably do need more diversity.”

Bella Levene Yakima Davis Student Art

High school senior, artist and aspiring fashion designer, Bella Levene, has been making strides with her own jewelry business called Real Universe X.

Levene is showcasing some of that jewelry at the gallery, along with her artwork, much of which showcases her passion for black culture.

“In Yakima, especially, there’s not a lot of black art,” Levene said. “It’s mostly Latina or like Spanish art around Yakima, which is beautiful of course, but I think we probably do need more diversity.”

READ: A.C. Davis High School students take the top 4 places in congressional art competition

Morgan Greene: “It’s so humbling and it’s sort of not real right now.”

Morgan Greene Yakima Student Artist

Inspired by her Native-American heritage, student artist Morgan Greene is using her art as a platform to raise awareness of the missing and murdered indigenous women movement.

“There’s a disproportionate amount of violence inflicted on indigenous women, even though they’re like a really small portion of the population,” Greene said.

Her piece, Silenced, won the 2022 congressional art competition for Central Washington and will be hanging on the wall of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. for the next year.

“It’s so humbling and it’s sort of not real right now,” Greene said.

The gallery in the KIVA at A.C. Davis High School will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Parents, peers and community members can swing by during the school day — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — for the rest of the week to view the exhibits.

“Come and see it,” Huls said. “You’ll be amazed at what these kids can do.”


READ: Hop Country Music Festival—Central Washington’s next big draw—benefits Yakima’s youth athletics