Improving Community Outdoor Space

Patricia Gotti, Anna Elder, Nick Hardeman, Jessica Thomeczek and Liz Carthen paint the discussion table for the Center of Faith and Service. PHOTO BY HALEY SHORT.
BY HALEY SHORT
STAFF WRITER

Tasked with implementing a community based art initiative project, students from the art of service class decided to improve the community outdoor space on campus. After spending weeks creating this project, the unveiling occurred on Monday outside of the Center for Faith and Service.


At this event, students were encouraged to leave their mark on a picnic table that would be used outside of the building. Along with this, the group also presented rental blankets that they have purchased after feedback from a poster in the Johnson College Inn lunch area. To spark unique conversations, the class placed discussion questions in the pocket of each blanket. The blankets will be available for short-term rental at the bubble in JCI in the future.

Cole Sailor, a freshman at Westminster and a project member, said that there is a lot that divides people at Westminster including politics, social ideas and areas of study.

“This project, I think, aims to create a union between these divisions,” he said.

With many activities occurring on campus, this initiative is intended to offer a safe opportunity for any type of conversation. This was seen throughout the event when students were able to join in and create something together.

“What I wanted to do in this class was to allow students to find a way to use creativity and the arts, broadly understood, to make Westminster as creative as it can be.” –Professor Sara Leonard.

This class educated students on matters pertaining to the creation of both art and community engagement through a series of articles, group activities, class discussions, and instructional videos.

Class professor Sara Leonard said, “What I wanted to do in this class was to allow students to find a way to use creativity and the arts, broadly understood, to make Westminster as creative as it can be.”

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The decorated bench will be sealed to protect it against the weather and available for students to use. PHOTO BY HALEY SHORT.

She added: “I’m excited to see what the students do with this. It will give them a place to gather on campus beyond the normal confines and maybe allow for them to meet new people.”

Jessica Thomeczek, a senior at Westminster and another project member, said: “It was really nice seeing everything come together. After going through this semester, and learning about the art initiative process, it feels amazing to see the process work in our own backyard. This opportunity was incredible.”

After four hours of painting, conversation and bonding, the group members of the art of service class were finally done with the finished project. The group hopes to inspire others to open their minds to dynamic and growing conversations on campus.

“I thought that this activity was a lot of fun and a great stress reliever,” said sophomore Anna Elder. “This table is the perfect way to get students outside and away from their room. I would totally be a part of a class that does something like this, but I don’t know what my project would be just yet.”

“I thought that this activity was a lot of fun and a great stress reliever. This table is the perfect way to get student outside and away from their room.” –Anna Elder, ’19

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