BY ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
When it comes to sports, any number of teams take videos of games and races to allow students to tweak their techniques.
The McNary High School Fine Arts Department is hoping to do the same with performances using proceeds from Knight of Arts Saturday, March 7. The department hopes to install up to five closed circuit cameras in the Ken Collins Theatre.
“If we had those cameras we can get almost instant feedback where students can see what they are doing and come back to class the next day with a critique of their work,” said Jim Taylor, choir director. “Their feedback now is all based on what instructors see and what we say.”
Knight of Arts, which features student performances alongside silent and oral auctions, is the department’s largest annual fundraiser. Silent auctions begin at 5:30 p.m. The oral auctions will be part of the main show beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets, which include a bidding paddle, are $10.
After spending the past several years of building up McNary’s Studio M, where students can record and produce music and videos onsite, the theatre cameras will help create additional synergy.
“A lot of the programs are still isolated right now. The closed circuit cameras can make us more collaborative,” said Todd Layton, digital arts instructor at the school.
A lower-end three-camera system would be about $18,000. A higher-end camera system could include five cameras with room to expand, but it comes with a price tag of about $50,000. Due to the cost, the department may squirrel away a good portion of the proceeds and purchase the something more than the basic package.
Once installed, the camera system would provide for high-end job training with less effort and coordination.
“Students would be able to activate the cameras in Studio M or even off-site. Right now, we have to have four or five people volunteer to come in and record things, which means we miss some events. We’d like to be able to document everything that happens in the theatre for historical purposes, but also to produce high-quality DVDs for sale to families and others in the community,” Taylor said.
In addition to the larger purchase, the proceeds fund $5,000 in student scholarships; one $500 scholarship for each of the seven fine arts pursuits and an overall “grand prize” $1,500 scholarship. Each section of the department will also receive money for pet projects. Layton would like to replace the school’s vinyl cutter, music programs are looking to replace or upgrade some instruments, the visual arts will get more money for materials and the drama department is hoping to purchase some LED lights.
Big-ticket items up for auction include:
• A trip to Pints of Portland where the winning bidder will help create their own brew and then return with a party of 10 friends for its unveiling. They’ll also get a keg of their creation.
• A landscaping package that includes 20 hours of labor, $150 in base materials and $500 for plants.
• An exterior house-painting package.
• A trip to the Oregon Coast.
• A high-end electric ukelele.
• A Traeger grill.
• A wine tour with a department director.
• A local getaway package.
For those who can’t make the event themselves, Taylor invites them to make an appointment with someone in the department for a tour of what is being offered.
“During the last period today, I had six groups of students working on six different projects and most of them stayed after school to work without being asked. More than arts, we teach organization, follow-through and taking pride in your work,” Taylor said.
Donations to the Fine Arts Department can also be given at the McNary High School main office at any time. The school is located at 595 Chemawa Road N. Knight of Arts takes place there as well.