Art club uses skills to aid community

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published April 14, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.
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Wayne Bryan

Danielle Wilson, a member of the art club at Ouachita Baptist University, paints the trim on an office window at Caddo Valley Food Bank. The club members often use their art skills for community service. The students cleaned the warehouse and painted the office April 6 during OBU’s spring Tiger Serve Day.

Adam Oakes, president of the Ouachita Baptist University Art Club, and 11 other members put away their palettes and art brushes and picked up paint rollers and brooms to help a community.

On April 6, club members cleaned Caddo Valley Food Bank, a branch of the Arkansas Food Bank.

“Community service is a part of every club or organization at OBU and, ideally, we have tried to tie our service with art,” said Oakes, a graphic-design and computer-science student. “In December, we were at a nursing home helping the residents there make their own Christmas cards for family and friends. We also painted some for them.”

The food bank work was the club’s part in Spring Tiger Serve Day, when nearly 800 of OBU’s 1,200 students spent the morning raking, washing windows, painting and doing other jobs.

“I love it because it binds us together as a university in the common task of looking out for others and discovering the joy of service,” said Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement at the university.

The Ouachita Art Club began long ago, said Summer Brunch, assistant professor of visual arts at OBU and sponsor of the club. It was revived two years ago.

“Since then, the club’s members have sold student-designed T-shirts, bracelets and postcards,” she said. “They also donated art to Arkadelphia Central Primary School’s teachers lounge and sold their own art to help raise funds for a trip to the opening of Crystal Bridges (Museum of American Art) in Bentonville.”

Burch said one of the club members, Katie Hopman, designed the logo for the Spring Tiger Serve Day T-shirt worn by participating students. The blue design on a bright-green shirt was of an octopus following the event theme of “One Body. Many Hands.” The theme highlighted the widespread involvement of volunteers focused on a common goal of community service.

Oakes, a junior from Campbell, Texas, said the group collected food items for the Elrod Center Thanksgiving Food Drive and the work at the food bank in Caddo Valley felt like an extension of that work.

Armed with brooms and cleaning products, club members swept and cleaned the 10,000-square-foot facility on Valley Drive before the painting began. Oakes said the office painting was the first phase of their activities at the warehouse.

“We plan on doing a mural inside the office later on,” he said. “Right now, we are talking about a typographic mural with a quote from Mother Teresa and the mission statement of the food pantry.”

OBU senior Danielle Wilson of Simla, Colo., is an active member of the club, although she is a history and education major. She spent the morning painting trim around office windows.

In addition to community service, the club creates serious art, which has been shown and judged at several exhibitions.

“They have hosted a free graphic-design workshop where students and community members created temporary tattoos,” Burch said. “We will exhibit at the Arkadelphia Art Center — the date has not been set — and next year the club will be hosting an artist’s workshop, which will be free and open to the public.”

For more information about the OBU Art Club, visit the club’s Facebook page.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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