Art connects Berry students to Rome

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts and Living Editor

Alexis Johnson | CAMPUS CARRIER
Freshmen Claire Taylor and Kathryn Barthclay paint new mural in moon.

A new course at Berry is bringing “a helping hand” to the community…literally. 

“Community Outreach,” taught by Kelly Stevenson, visiting assistant professor of art, connects Rome and the Berry community through unique and meaningful artwork. 

For the “Lending a Hand” project, each of the students created 10 hands that they then hid around campus and Rome for people to find and then keep. Each hand has a positive quote linked to its individual design. While the found-art element of the project was Stevenson’s idea, the idea of making the hands came from the students. To create each one, students sculpted replicas of their own hands and then came up with different themes for each hand they made. 

“The project kind of played off the mission statement of Berry, with the head, heart and hands,” junior Ellen Summerlind said. “Just a happy message to send them through the day.”

Students are involved in the creation of the projects from begining to end. Stevenson acts more as a group member when deciding the plans for the projects, rather than controlling the class.

“If you’re creative, it’s a great class to be in,” freshman Kathy Munch said. “ Kelly is such a good ceramics teacher.” 

On Feb. 21, students from the class, joined by friends, painted a mural in the Moon Building. The students designed the mural themselves with help from Stevenson. It depicts a galaxy with hands of different races circling the Earth. 

“It’s going to be absolutely fantastic,” Munch said. “It’s a good opportunity to get all of our friends interested in art too.” 

In the future, the students will be working on a mosaic with students of Anna K. Davie Elementary School in Rome. Many of these elementary students have never had an art class before.

“To get somebody who has never had anything to do with art and be able to help them is going to be amazing,” Munch said. 

Summerlind grew up in Rome, so being able to help out her own community is an especially rewarding experience for her. She feels it is very important now that the art classes that made her want to major in art are no longer offered. 

 “The ‘Berry Bubble’ is a real thing, and it’s very easy to feel disconnected,” Summerlind said. “But the Facebook page and getting feedback from the community on the projects we’ve made is very cool.”  

Students agree that the class gives them a chance to use their creativity, learn new art forms and help the community around them. 

“I hope that the class continues,” Summerlind said. “It’s unlike any other art class I’ve taken. It would better the community and teach art at the same time.” 

The class involves a variety of art styles.

“In most art classes you’ll spend the whole semester painting, let’s say, or the whole semester sculpting,” Summerlind said. “In this class we are painting, we’re doing clay, we’re putting stuff up on the wall.” 

You don’t need know much about art to enjoy this class. Students learn as they go along, and the main goal of the class is to help the community. 

“It’s not exactly about being the most talented one in the art class,” Stevenson said. “It’s more about activity and having the opportunity to share that with other people.”

To learn more about the project, visit “Lending a Hand” Facebook page go see the new mural in the Moon Building. 

Leave a Reply