PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Chloe Kim barely spoke English when she first moved to Portland from South Korea two years ago. She used her passion for art to not only transcend language barriers but to also overcome prejudice and now, nothing can hold her back.
Chloe has been creating works of art since she was a little girl in South Korea but it wasn’t until she moved to the States that her works started to focus on a theme.
“About 8 months after I moved here, I encountered racist harassment,” Chloe said.
The reaction people had to her race confused her and made her question her identity.
“I realized I can be hated just because of who I am,” she said.
So Chloe turned to art to help her cope with the way she was treated.
The high schooler started making pieces meant to provoke discussion about diversity and other sensitive issues.
“It’s kind of like free-writing to me,” Chloe said. “By doing art, I try to contemplate on myself, my feelings, processing through visual language.”
While her dedication helped her overcome social challenges, it also won her the attention of the Beaverton Arts Foundation.
This month, the organization will present her with a scholarship in front of the Beaverton City Council.
It was her talent as an artist along with a powerful essay she wrote about how art has impacted her life that helped her become one of 15 students in Beaverton to win the scholarship.
Chloe said the award will provide much-needed financial support for the next chapter of her life: college.
She was accepted at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and will start this fall. The prestigious private art and design college isn’t cheap, though.
Chloe said her family was seriously considering moving back to South Korea despite Chloe being accepted at the art college because “we just couldn’t make it.”
But with the help of the scholarship, nothing is now standing in the way of Chloe and the pursuit of her dreams. -Dreams that revolve around helping others.
“I want to create art for people who are forced to be silent so I want to be part of that start of the conversations,” she said.
Chloe’s art teacher at Westview, Kim Short, expects big things from the driven student.
“This is only the beginning of Chloe’s artistic career. We will probably be hearing again from Chloe someday.”