MCCC Club Learns Lessons in Art and Altruism
N.J. -- Members
of the MCCC Art Club have learned lots about painting, drawing and
sculpting this year - and also about altruism. According to the
club's advisor, Assistant Professor Lucas Kelly, the club has raised
the bar with three ambitious community service projects. "Each
year, students get excited about different things. Community outreach
and service projects were the focus this year," Kelly says.
the effort was Fine Arts student Meghan Yake, who enrolled at Mercer
in 2007, but only got active in the Art Club this past fall. "I
wish I had done it sooner," she said. "I look forward
to every meeting and I'm excited to be here." While Yake, who
plans to transfer to continue her art studies in the fall, has always
loved her Mercer classes, community service has added a fulfilling
dimension to her college experience. "It's so nice to know
I'm doing something worthwhile for charity," she says.
The first outreach effort took place on December 8, when 15 student
volunteers visited a K-8 After School Program for the Boys and Girls
Clubs of Trenton. They spent more than two hours making holiday
art projects with 110 youngsters. According to Yake, the younger
children made holiday greeting cards and the older ones made ornaments.
"They were great kids and really into it," she said. "They
didn't want to leave." Some of the students' family members
and friends even joined in to help.
the winter break in January, Art Club members again reached out,
this time to the ZieherSmith Gallery in New York City. Several students
submitted work and served as volunteers for "Postcards from
the Edge," an annual benefit event for the nonprofit organization
Visual AIDS, which helps artists with HIV/AIDS and promotes awareness
explains that artists of all types, ages, and levels of career accomplishment
submit postcard-sized art signed only on the back. All pieces cost
$75. "They are hung so that the artists' signatures are not
visible. Collectors hope they are buying pieces from an established
artist, but they may actually be purchasing the work of an emerging
artist or a student like those from Mercer," Kelly explains.
was front and center for this event and spent hours hanging some
of the 1500 postcards. "It was a great experience in learning
and volunteerism," she said.
winter break, the Art Club conceived and promoted "Karaoke
for a Cause" on Feb. 20 with the Teal Wings of Hope Foundation,
an outreach group for women with ovarian cancer. Held at the German
American Club in Hamilton, the event raised $8,000.
MCCC Art Club reached out to youngsters in the Boys and Girls
Club after-school program in December.
Club members help youngsters with holiday projects.
of the MCCC Art Club include Meghan Yake, standing next to advisor
Lucas Kelly, far right.
Hong, from the Art Institute of Chicago, spoke to Art Club members
April 1. He is pictured reviewing the portfolio of Fine Arts student
proved herself to be an able promoter, selling approximately 100 of the
130 total tickets, including some to MCCC faculty members and students.
She also admits to performing a few numbers. "I'm a dancer, not a
singer," she said, "but I wanted to help get it started. People
had a great time."
notes that the purpose of these projects is to get students to think about
themselves and their art in the larger world outside the classroom. "We
want them to see the connection between the arts and the community. Eventually,
in their work and their lives, they need to do things not because they
are given a class assignment, but because it's worthwhile to give back
to your community. "
elements of networking and recognition within the artistic community are
important too. "Artists must persevere, take the initiative, and
make connections. These types of activities help students to begin thinking
about how they can make a living in the arts."
the Art Club's annual activities are the Garden State exhibition, a collaborative
show of student and faculty work; trips to museums in New York City and
Philadelphia; lectures by visiting artists; and portfolio review workshops
with representatives from four-year schools. A recent visit by Greyson
Hong, from the Art Institute of Chicago, drew more than 20 students, who
learned about the institute's academic programs and got personalized feedback
on their portfolios.
Yake, who plans to take her passion for print-making to the next level
at a four-year school , the waning days of her MCCC experience are bitter
sweet. "I love Mercer. I wish it were a four-year school.
I want to be a professor myself. I see how the faculty handle themselves
here. They are role models for the kind of professor I want to be. I want
my students to be engaged and invested," Yake says.
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