Though she never thought of herself as an artist while growing up in Menlo Park, California, Karen Perkins was always making something. "I sold my weaving in high school," she recounts. She also taught arts and crafts at a boarding school as a senior project: "They invited me back -- I worked there for a year." Perkins moved to Eugene for the trees and rivers in 1973, studied ceramics and art education, and worked four years as ceramics department head at Maude Kerns Art Center. She has taught art since 1984, first at Springfield Middle School, and since 1998 at Springfield High. "Springfield is incredibly supportive of arts," says Perkins. "I've been working for years to get kids involved in the community." Her glass classes are presently working on three murals for specific locations at the school, while her latest project sends experienced SHS artists out to teach classes in nearby elementary and middle schools. "Karen gives up her lunch every day because kids just want to be there," notes art department chair Dana Demant. "It's a place where they can do good work and feel successful. It's home base for a lot of kids."