University Students Help Those in Need Through Art

By Caitlin Burns | March 31, 2016

Artist in the Community student Stéphane Marquette ’16 paints a global bowl for a project with Parkway Northwest High School.

For Arcadia University’s Artist in the Community class, students see the possibilities of transforming everyday objects into art with a little imagination—and how that art can transform someone in need.

Led by Adjunct Professor Linda Ruth Paskell, the 15-week course takes students out of the classroom and places them as volunteers at schools, homeless shelters, and organizations in Philadelphia to assist with art projects.

So far this semester, students have made global bowls, inspired by woven Kenyan bowls, with high school students at Parkway Northwest, and henna art rolling pins, inspired by painted antique rolling pins, with residents at the St. Raymond House shelter. A third project, to be completed in the coming weeks, is the transformation of traffic cones into decorated flower vases.

“I tell the students, your fundamental question in life should be, ‘How can I serve?’” Paskell said. “Life isn’t about you. You’re being equipped [in college] to make a difference in this life. Every day you have a choice to serve yourself or to serve others.”

The finished global bowls, rolling pins, and traffic cones will be on display, along with other artwork at the Art of the Syllabus exhibition, on Thursday, April 14 in Spruance Hall from 3:30 to 6 p.m.