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Using art to make a difference

finearts_keystoneWhat can fine arts majors learn about themselves and their disciplines by volunteering in the community? Come to the Fine Arts Keystone final presentation on Monday to find out.

This Fall, senior students in film, music, theatre, and studio arts worked with Centro, a multi-social service agency that serves the Chicano and Latino communities. Students volunteered in the food bank and worked with children in the Siembra preschool. They blogged about their experiences throughout the term and created art respective of their disciplines as a way to reflect on their engagement with Centro. The class will present a collaborative art piece on Monday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in the lower level of Old Main.

Susan Boecher, assistant professor of art, said the students wanted to focus the community service aspect of the course on issues related to hunger and food. She chose Centro after researching several organizations because it is a multi-service agency which would provide multiple opportunities for the students to volunteer. She also wanted the students to get involved in areas where Augsburg had not previously been.

Through their work with Centro, the students saw that many of the problems faced by people who are served by the organization are connected. “That’s how this class functions,” one student said. “Our final project is a symbolic initiative related to our experiences at Centro.”

Boecher says the project not only gives students an opportunity to get involved in the community but also encourages students from different disciplines to work together toward a common cause. “The Keystone encourages community based art projects that engage and educate the campus and allows students to find ways to use their talent to give back to the community.”

Though the students were not creating art at Centro, one student said that working with others gave her a glimpse into a different world. “That gives me new stuff to work with and broadens my horizons as an artist,” she said.

Another student added, “Art is what we have, and we use the tools we have to make a difference. Centro is a huge place, but little parts come together to make the whole. That’s what this show is about.”

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