Friday, March 31, 2017

Announcing 2017 Teen Summer Reading Art Contest Winners!

First Place Artwork by Elena Hessinger
The Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) is proud to announce the winner of its 2017 Teen Summer Reading Art Contest: Elena Hessinger!

A tenth-grader at Westview High School, Elena has been awarded top honors for her color design which depicts a group of diverse teens reading and constructing a new city in their minds. Her design expertly captures this year’s Teen Summer Reading theme: Build a Better World: Read!

Second Place Artwork by Laurel Shepard
Elena receives a $150 gift certificate for Powell’s Books and her art will appear on all countywide Teen Summer Reading publicity this summer.

This is the eighth consecutive year that WCCLS has encouraged teens to capture the spirit of Summer Reading through their creative art. Thirty-seven pieces were submitted at the public libraries in Washington County during the months of January and February. On March 14th, feedback collected from local teens was reviewed and the winning piece was selected.

2nd Place and Honorable Mention winners were also awarded. These individuals each received a gift card for Dick Blick Art Materials.

Below is a full list of 2017 Teen Summer Reading Art Contest winners:

  • First Place: Elena Hessinger, Westview High School
  • Second Place: Laurel Shepard, Southridge High School
  • Honorable Mention: Crystal Franklin, Jesuit High School
  • Honorable Mention: Len Nguyen, Sunset High School

Honorable Mention Artwork by Crystal Franklin
Honorable Mention Artwork by Len Nguyen
The Summer Reading Program promotes reading habits that last all year. Summer Reading in Washington County will officially begin on June 1st. Teens can sign up at their local public library to earn prizes for reading, including tickets to Portland Thorns, T2, and Trail Blazers games; a round of miniature golf at Bullwinkles Family Fun Center, a deep discount to Oaks Amusement Park, and Buy One-Get One admission to the Oregon State Fair.

The Teen Summer Reading Art Contest was made possible by a grant from the Oregon State Library.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Art of the Story 2017 performer spotlight: Kevin Locke

Hear Kevin Locke perform at the 2017 Art of the Story festival:
Kevin Locke (Tokaheya Inajin in Lakota translation “First to Rise”) is a world famous visionary Native American Hoop Dancer and preeminent player of the Indigenous Northern Plains flute. He is a NEA Heritage Award Fellow and Cultural World Ambassador from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.

Kevin is Lakota and Anishnabe. His instructions were received from his immediate family and community and from extended family in every part of the world. He has learned many lessons in global citizenship and how we each draw from the richness of our individual heritages.

His role in life is to entertain, educate, engage, and empower the minds of both youth and adults in the North American Indian cultural arts and history of Native Americans. His special joy is working with children on the reservations to ensure the survival and growth of indigenous culture.

Having performed in over 90 countries around the world, he has made appearances to over 1 million students and guests in over 10,000 schools and events in the last 35 years. Kevin’s goal is to inspire youth in reaching greatness and uniting the world in oneness. Kevin has recorded twelve albums of music and stories, most recently The First Flute, Open Circle, Keepers of the Dream, and Dream Catcher. Find out more at

Learn more about Kevin Locke in this video:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Art of the Story 2017 performer spotlight: Ingrid Nixon

Hear Ingrid Nixon perform at the 2017 Art of the Story festival:
Ingrid Nixon is a world-traveling storyteller, who loves nothing more than to whisk away listeners on journeys of the imagination. Exploration nail-biters, lies, tall tales, traditional and personal stories—she tells them all, bringing characters to life using voices, gestures, and animated facial expressions. Her creative approaches to story crafting help make traditional tales relevant to modern audiences.

Ingrid’s first CD, Grimm’s with a Twist, offers deliciously dark stories spiced liberally with humor and pathos. Her new recording, Operation Bouncy Chair, features personal stories about the important things in life: family, love, and coffee. She is a champion liar many times over, a claim that makes her mother both proud and worried. After living in Alaska for many years working in the wilds as a National Park Service ranger, she currently hails from Washington State. Find out more at

Hear Ingrid perform at The Moth:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Art of the Story 2017 performer spotlight: Norm Brecke

Hear Norm Brecke perform at the 2017 Art of the Story festival:
Norm Brecke tells everywhere; from narrating for the Seattle Symphony to being a featured teller at the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival, from the Seattle Art Museum to Tom’s Shoes.

Norm spices folktales to make them unique, spins personal stories that reflect his Northwest roots, and performs entertaining historical programs. He often brings music to his stories with guitar, ukulele, banjo, or jaw harp.

Norm taught elementary school for 14 years and developed after-school storytelling programs as well. He and his wife teach storytelling to adults at workshops and Portland Community College. Find out more at

Here is a video of Norm performing Bear Girl:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Art of the Story 2017 performer spotlight: Brianna Barrett

Hear Brianna Barrett perform at the 2017 Art of the Story festival:

Brianna Barrett is a playwright, filmmaker, performer, cancer survivor, and punch-card-carrying regular at every locally-owned tea shop in Portland. As a member of Portland Storytellers’ Guild, she teaches storytelling workshops and coaches first-time tellers at the local HHH Foundation's Notes of Hope annual benefit concert.

She was named Portland's Best Storyteller in Willamette Week Magazine (Best of Portland, 2016). Brianna has recently appeared in the Affable Gentlemen, The Yarn, and Imagine Live at the Pickathon Music Festival. She also facilitates a weekly writing workshop for cancer survivors at Oregon Health & Science University. Find out more at

Here is a video of Brianna performing at the Portland Storytellers' Guild: