CHS students find ways to utilize art as method to give back to community

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When junior Maddie DeFrench donated a piece of jewelry she made in Jewelry 1, she said she felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and satisfaction she had never felt before. Although the piece of jewelry she made was simple, DeFrench’s authentic and shining bracelet fell into the hands of a delighted octogenarian woman residing in a nursing home.

“I received a card from (the woman) about two weeks after I donated the bracelet. The handwriting was very shaky, so I knew it must have taken a lot of effort for her to write the thank-you card.  She really enjoyed the bracelet and said it reminded her of her deceased sister who collected charm bracelets when she was little. The fact that something I made touched her heart, just makes me feel really great,” DeFrench said.

According to Jen Bubp, art department head and Art Club sponsor, art is a method to give back to the community. In order to utilize art as a tool, Bubp said she tries to integrate community service with art assignments. On Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Freshman Center, Bubp said that art students and teachers will auction their art at a silent auction. All proceeds will be donated to the Riley Children’s Hospital in conjunction with the money raised from Dance Marathon.

“Students need to realize the gift they’ve been given to create beautiful art. When they share their gifts with others, they can definitely have an impact on many people,” Bubp said.

DeFrench said she agrees with Bubp because she felt the impact she made on the octogenarian woman to whom she donated her bracelet.

Since 2012, Bubp said she has tried to implement two pivotal community service projects every school year. This semester, art students will participate in a silent art auction on Feb. 19. Sophie Gogulis-Danenman, Art Club president and senior, said she is eager for the art auction because she believes she can inspire someone.

“When we painted murals at the Riley Children’s Hospital in September, it was so heartwarming to know that all the nurses and sick kids were really excited about the work we were doing there,” Gogulis-Danenman said. “It was a really fun experience because I got to hang out with my friends while painting walls that would help take the children’s minds off of their sicknesses. Doing art for others really motivates me because I think people really enjoy it and when they see it, they can get inspired. Auctioning my art during Dance Marathon is just another reminder of how I can raise money to make an impact in someone else’s life.”

According to Bubp, the first major art project art students completed last year was making wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the St. Vincent Breast Center. Art students were able to work with art therapists to learn how art can be used as a form of self-expression to aid to diagnosis. To raise money for breast cancer awareness, art students auctioned off pieces of their artwork.

Bubp said, “I’m really looking forward to doing another project similar to the St. Vincent Breast Center project we did last year. Although I’m not sure what other projects we’ll be doing this year other than the spring art show and the art auction in February, I am confident that someone who needs us will call us. I feel like if you plan too much, you close the doors to opportunities, and I’m a person who truly believes that opportunities come to you when your heart is open to receive them.”

DeFrench said she is looking forward to future opportunities to give back to the community.

She said, “I really believe that all artists have the ability to powerfully affect others. Artwork can touch people in ways you don’t even realize and I think it’s really important to reach the community with the gift of art because it just creates a positive aura around everyone. I have a lot of crafts I like to make so I’m hoping I can make something for sick children or donate a painting to a nursing home. Finding new ways to give back is just really satisfying and I challenge everyone to try it out.”

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