Value of the Arts in a Science, Engineering and Sports Intensive Town


Corvallis, Oregon was originally called Marysville, Corvallis. It was incorporated in 1845 and renamed as “Corvallis” in 1853. As locals know, Corvallis is more than Beavers sports and HP.

The “Working with Waves” program was born in Corvallis in the early 1990’s by local artist and educator, Carol Selberg. One decade later arts funding from public schools was drastically cut. People looked towards their community to fill the void in arts education. Many experimental after-school arts education programs sprang up, providing young people with the tools and space to creatively think outside the box and explore the world around them. Student participation in these programs took off – in numbers that many never expected. There was a demand – a thirst for art.

Today, what’s clear from the data is the demand for access to the arts remains engrained in this town. Our Science, Engineering and Sports Intensive Town values STEAM education. Together, we teach our children. Carol and the generation before us knew art had value and is a lens to better understanding the world. They worked hard to make sure the old system was replaced with a better system. I can’t wait for my next trip to our public library, seeing rainbows pour in from the diffraction grating film on the windows, hearing children’s joy from OMSI presentations, and scoping out hiding places in preparation for the next adult after hours nerf night!

By Laura Young

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