Ashland High School student William Crowley still remembers the feeling he got from the first public showing of his art in town.
"Getting my work out in the community was a really good feeling. It gave me confidence to pursue my art," he said. "I wanted to give back to students and give them that feeling of confidence."
A high school senior, Crowley already has organized, hung and promoted exhibits of student work in venues around Ashland.
Most recently, he organized a show of student art at the Ashland Art Center downtown that was up for the First Friday Art Walk earlier this month.
Crowley has been organizing shows of other students' work as part of his senior project.
Setting up art exhibits is no easy task.
Crowley said he communicates with galleries, recruits artists to submit work, promotes the exhibits, hangs the art and will even frame art and put it under glass before a show if a student hasn't done that.
"I have deadlines for artists to get their work to me. I still have some people who hand me art the day of the show," he said. "I will frame it the same day if it's not framed. The opening day of a show can be chaotic."
The multitalented Crowley — who is also a certified lifeguard — travels to Builders Bargain Center, a White City discount building materials store, to get material for the frames he makes himself.
He gets glass from old single-pane windows that window installers pull out when they are installing new windows.
Crowley said he is able to frame art himself because of skills he picked up at Ashland High School.
"There are not too many towns and high schools where you can learn all those skills," he said. "We're one of the few schools that still has a woodshop. We're pretty lucky. It also doubles as a jewelry and stained-glass shop."
Crowley credits art teacher Mark Schoenleber, student art instructor Sam Scharf and stained-glass and woodshop teacher John Weston for inspiring him and teaching him new skills.
Schoenleber is planning to retire after working for decades as a teacher.
"He's shaped a lot of students' lives at the high school," Crowley said.
Crowley has also picked up printmaking skills from Ashland artist Denise Kester.
He said he may put some more exhibits together this summer before he leaves for the University of Oregon, where he plans to study art, chemistry and biochemistry in preparation for a career in the medical field.
Crowley currently has a one-man exhibit of his own art — which ranges from semi-abstract realism to completely abstract pieces — at imortgage, a mortgage company at 344 E. Main St. near Pasta Piatti downtown.
"It's pretty cool to showcase all of his high school work," said Dee Jorgenson, production assistant at imortgage. "We get a very good response from our clients. They enjoy seeing that we support high school artists."
Crowley's work will be up at least through the end of this month at imortgage. His art can also be viewed on Flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/crowpow.
Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.