The Gresham Art Committee Members

Clockwise from top left: Hoan Tran, Katherine Toft,  Melissa Witka, Barbara Solomon and 

Leo Hartshorn

Scroll down to bottom of page to find out more about membership.

Featured Member Hoan Tran 

Curator of the "I Am From...." exhibit 

that has now been taken down

According to my parents, I was drawing long before I could hold a pencil to write my name. Being the forward-thinking parents that they were, they nurtured my love for the visual arts from a very early age. I remember being in a portraiture class where everyone was much taller than me. My parents reminded me that I was 6, while the youngest age there was 15. So they always knew that I loved art, and did everything they could to encourage me to develop my skills and talent. 

Yet, when I declared I wanted to major in fine art in college, their Chinese mindset couldn’t accept the fact that their youngest daughter was going to be an artist. They tried hard to explain how concerned they were that as a working artist, I wouldn’t be able to put food on my table or have a roof over my head. Friends and family tried to comfort them by jokingly saying that I would just have to marry rich, which was also against my parents’ belief. They had long made it known to my sisters and me that they expected us to stand on our own 2 feet and be financially self-sufficient, like my brothers. 

Nevertheless, for my graduation from Lewis & Clark College, my parents said, “If you are going to be an artist, you need to go to Paris and visit the Louvre.” So, we went to France for a month that summer.

Somewhere in between my childhood art lessons, I also loved to play school with other neighborhood children. But I would only play if I got to be the teacher. I found a wonderful compromise that allowed me to combine my 1st love with a passion for sharing that love. Twenty-five years into my teaching career, I still get genuinely excited every September as I walk into the first day of class. The journey of exploring what art means to my students, and being able to share the creative process with students with all levels of ability are the forces that take me into the classroom each day with more ideas than I can teach in a month!  

The image of Ms. Tran was created as a multimedia piece by her student Noelani Lommasson, and gifted to her. 

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