Kennard depicts her artistic prowess through award-winning “Thriving Weed”


“Emma’s (Kennard) work is always meaningful. She puts her heart into everything she does as an artist,” Lynn Pass, arts teacher, said describing of her current AP art student. “She has an incredible sense of color and line in this and all her work.”

Her drawing, named “Thriving Weed,” was recently selected as the best out of more than 40 other pieces in the High School Art Northwest art show at George Fox University.  Kennard, junior, earned bragging rights and a $250 cash prize for her creation.

“Ms. Pass had gotten an email from someone at George Fox saying that it would be really nice if I could come down and check out my piece. They don’t usually do that unless you’re considered for something,” Kennard said. “And when the man was flipping through all of the certificates I saw that my name was at the bottom and that the last place pieces were towards the top.”

That was the moment when Kennard first realized that her piece had taken home the ultimate prize. Kennard was surprised that her drawing had earned her first place, as it was not made specifically for this contest. In fact, the origin of this piece was simply an assignment in one of Kennard’s art classes.

“The original assignment was to create a triple self-portrait, which utilized three intense emotions,” Kennard said. “If I could sum it up, the emotions of my piece focus on the realization that you are changing, but not necessarily in a good way. That’s why I named it ‘Thriving Weed’.”

Pass believes that Kennard utilizes a few concrete techniques to communicate variety in this piece.

“The piece shows emotion as well as a sense of movement and unity which she achieves through her use of line and color harmony,” Pass said.

Kennard is quick to deflect any attention she has gained from herself onto her artwork. She realizes that she may have already gained a “reputation as an artist” in this community.

“I take pride in the ability to produce art that causes a reaction. But I don’t believe that I as an individual I deserve the fame/emulation/interest I often get,” Kennard said. “Open doors and automatic respect are nice, but I’d like the community focus to shift away from me and toward my body of work.”

As a junior, she already has a clear view as to what she wants to do with her artwork.

“I plan on making art for my own interests, but I also want it to be involved,” Kennard said. “My goal is for my art to be connected to the social media. I would like to use it to promote humanitarian issues because I think people underestimate the importance of pop art.”

Her success is gaining attention from many colleges around the country as well. College is not far from Kennard’s mind, as she has already begun considering where she will continue her artistic pursuits. Some of Kennard’s dream schools include the Kansas City Art Institute, California College of the Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Rhode Island School of Design.

In the meantime, Kennard quietly continues to produce art. She seeks neither fame nor attention from the student body, and is content with the work she creates.

“I’m the microphone that projects the messages, is all, and people will be deaf to them if they pay too much attention to me.”

These messages may amplify in the coming years as Kennard progresses in her abilities as an artist. Many are excited to see what the future has to hold for this talented young trailblazer.

“Emma’s artistic abilities are far beyond her years,” Pass said. “I recall seeing her work in various shows when she was at Rosemont Ridge and I was amazed at her ability then.  I’ve seen tremendous growth in her art techniques over the past three years here at West Linn and I look forward to what she’ll accomplish as an artist in the future.”