Press Release – Kids Curate, April 2021

Thank you for your interest in the High Desert Museum. For press and media inquiries, please contact Heidi Hagemeier, director of communications, at 541-382-4754 ext. 166 or contact us.


R.E. Jewell Elementary School Students to Open Exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Kids Curate

BEND, OR — Kids Curate, an exhibition create­­d by fifth-grade students from R.E. Jewell Elementary School in Bend, opens Friday, May 7. Kids Curate is a yearlong program that integrates art and science into existing school curriculum and culminates in an exhibition at the Museum, this year on display through June 6.

Museum curators work with a different Central Oregon school every year in both the classroom and through field trips to produce an exhibition. The program integrates art, science, history and writing, giving students an opportunity to learn about arts and culture career possibilities while simultaneously exploring the natural world.

The R.E. Jewell Elementary students are part of the eighth annual Kids Curate, and this year the project explores how plants and animals use energy from the sun. Each individual class was assigned one of three habitats—forest, riparian or shrub-steppe. Students studied the ecosystem energy creation for the unique plants and animals. They then created line drawings of various flora and fauna from the different ecosystems, which were laser etched onto plexiglass tiles that will form a mosaic on the gallery wall.

Art supplies and plant-growing kits were distributed to the students in November. The program this year was done through online video classes until students returned to full in-person learning in mid-April.

“We are so proud of how the students embraced this program in an online format this year,” said Bonnie Lee and Oliver P. Steele III Curator of Education Carolyn Nesbitt. “We all have the ability to examine plants and animals in our own neighborhoods, and the kids explored and embraced not only the assigned habitats but also what’s right out their own front doors.”

Kids Curate also provides participating students with the pride of publicly and prominently displaying their artwork.

“The Kids Curate students bring a one-of-a-kind display to the High Desert Museum every spring,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We are excited to give students learning opportunities outside of the classroom, fusing art and science as well as connecting community and place.”

More information about the High Desert Museum and Kids Curate program can be found at

This year, Kids Curate is made possible by the Oregon Arts Commission, The Bloomfield Family Foundation and The Reser Family Foundation with support from Dogs Limited and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.


THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum uses indoor and outdoor exhibits, wildlife in natural habitats and living history demonstrations to help people discover and appreciate this diverse region. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate and was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence. The Museum is a finalist for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Services, and the award will be announced by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in May.