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Turning a garage into a New Leaf

Teen gallery opens this week, offers varied classes

Big ideas are behind the small studio on Seventh Street in Hood River.

Keenan Collins, a freshman at Hood River Valley High School, has fulfilled a longtime dream of creating an active art space for teenagers.

It is called New Leaf Gallery, and it is located in a garage owned by the family, on Seventh between Oak and Cascade streets.

Collins said “Lots of kids in Hood River like to make art but do not have a place to show or sell art.

“We wanted to create a fun and nonthreatening place to make, show and sell art,” he said.

Collins won the first Kids’ Gorge Soup grant in May 2012 (details below), bringing home a $1,200 grant to start New Leaf.

New Leaf classes will be held on Saturdays — starting Feb. 2 — and recurring on March 2 and April 6.

All classes are from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The fee per class is $10 and the topics include watercolor experimentation with Courtney Berens, block printing techniques with Kelsey Mosley and handmade book creation with Shelly Toon.

To register email newleafhoodriver@gmail.com or call 541-386-3996. Scholarships are available upon request.

New Leaf is in an unassuming cinderblock building, featuring a bright green light over the door. Inside is a large work table, besides four smaller work stations along the wall. In addition to the garage space, there is a spacious yard for spring and summer use, and an available restroom.

Collins and his mom, Amy Zacher, painted the garage inside and out, installed new doors and repaired the floors and the roof. Artwork in the well-lit space will hang from nails set an inch apart about 8 feet off the floor.

Over time, New Leaf will use class fees to recruit new artists to teach classes.

“There are numerous artists in Gorge who would be willing to share their talents,” Collins said, adding that foster kids and others can attend for free.

“I want to give kids a chance to feel good about their art, extend their skills and connect to the Hood River art community,” he said.

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The second annual Kids’ Gorge Soup will be May 14 at Springhouse Cellar Winery. Applications are available online at http://bit.ly/ V4kD9F.

Student presenter applications are due by April 17.

The next Gorge Soup for adults will be Feb. 5, 6 p.m. at Celilo Restaurant in downtown Hood River. Tickets are $35; available online at http://gorgesoup.wordpress.com/buy-tickets/.

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