Seattle Public Schools

Eagle Staff Installs Student Portraits Created by Student Artist

Summary: Eagle Staff alumnae's artwork of student portraits were recently installed at the school.

Leaving a Legacy  

Former Eagle Staff Middle School student has art project installed as a permanent display  

Before departing middle school, Evie Ishisaka left a lasting gift for the Eagle Staff community. Principal Zachary Stowell commissioned the young artist to create portraits of current students.    

“I was really surprised. I was at lunch with my friends, and he came up to me and was talking to me about it, and I was like, ‘wow, OK, cool.’ And then it just kind of sunk in and like, ‘wow!’ My art is going to be on the school for who knows how long.”  

The images are now a permanent art installation at the school. Evie, who is entering her freshman year at Ingraham High School, said the drawings allow past, present and future students to see a representation of themselves in the hallways.  

“I think it’s important to show a diverse amount of students. So, when people come to the school, they can see people that are like them, people that look like them, that might have similar experiences. And I think that’s just something that is important to be able to see.”  

Evie’s former art teacher, Thomas Ripley, was impressed from the start by her willingness to help others. 

“I really look to 8th graders to set a positive example and to be mentors and leaders in our classroom community,” Ripley said. “Evie was always very kind and conscientious of other students in the class, always willing to help or to point somebody in the right direction, which I appreciated tremendously.” 

Ripley also said Evie was always seeking a challenge and didn’t back down from tackling ambitious assignments.  

“Every time I walked past her table, there was something amazing that she had planned out or that she was sketching or imagining,” he said. “She would say, ‘don’t worry, I got this, I think I can do it,’ and every time … she did.” 

The incorporation of student work and cultural representation in the hallways was a common theme during the recent community meetings on well-resourced schools. Principal Stowell has made it his mission to cover as many walls as he can with student artwork.  

“We spend more time here with our Ravens than we do with our own family,” he said. “So, how do we make it feel as comfortable and as inclusive and caring as possible? And if there’s a blank wall and you have something to go on it, let’s do it. Our walls are just another teaching point.”  

Evie stands in the hallway below her artwork in Eagle Staff.

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