Savanna Vickers

Of the Keizertimes

Savanna Vickers’ only regret about being part of the Salem Art Association’s art internship program isn’t really a regret at all.

“If I had known about it before I was a senior, I would have applied every year,” she said.

Vickers is one of four McNary art students – the others are Linette Chanthavong, Kimberly Madison and Ali Zuro – who were selected to participate in the program this year. As part of the program, she works with a mentor, Salem pottery artist Annie Stecker, to hone her work and pick up new skills.

It’s been a whirlwind year for the four seniors, not the least of which is preparing for an upcoming show at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street N.E., in downtown Salem. A reception for the artists is slated for Wednesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m.

For Vickers in particular, its been especially challenging as an artist new to pottery, but the mentorship has helped her navigate new territory. Stecker helped her discover her aptitude for wheel work, but she’s trying to put the finishing touches on a dried up willow tree for the show.

“I’ve been learning all the basics in classes. When we can’t get to something to class, it’s nice to be able to go to [Stecker],” Vickers said.

Madison favors acrylic painting and was paired with artist Corrine Loomis Dietz.

“I was doing more abstract fantasy-type stuff, but I’m trying to make my paintings more realistic and doing flowers and trees. The mentors teach us stuff that we wouldn’t learn in the classroom and give you an overall picture of how a project would work from planning to execution,” Madison said.

Getting the opportunity to delve in deeper to the arena of color is a thrill for illustrator Linette  Chanthavong.

“In class, we have a real system going from pencil to charcoal to color. By the time we get to coloring something we’re focus on the color wheel, so I’ve wanted to learn more about color theory, doing complementary colors, analogous colors,” Chanthavong said.

Chanthavong is working on a series of bird illustrations for her part in the gallery show.

Ali Zuro, who recently made headlines for being selected to submit a painted cow for the annual Art of Dairy Contest sponsored by Safeway, was paired with artist Paula Portinga Booth.

While the mentoring program fosters their creativity, Madison said the biggest benefit she’s gotten is an understanding of how to carve a career path in the creative landscape.

“I do want to do art for a career and this program is opening up doors regarding how to get into colleges and take that next step,” she said.

For more information about the art internship program, visit


Kimberly Madison

Linette Chanthavong

Ali Zuro