Academics, Community, News

Art class gives creativity a cause

Billie Grace Lynn, an associate professor in the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History, wants to make the world a better place through art. She is inspired by socially engaged art projects like Project Row Houses, in which a team of artists and volunteers restored derelict houses for low-income African-American families in the Third Ward area of Houston, Texas.

“Through my research, I discovered some amazing projects that artists are doing in communities all over the world,” Lynn said. “I decided I wanted to be a part of that.”

In order to realize her dream, Lynn created Socially Engaged Art, a class where students use art to help local communities. She got her idea approved by the Office of Community Engagement in 2013, and the first section of Socially Engaged Art was offered in spring 2014.

Last spring, 12 students led by Lynn welded steel bars into bike racks for children in Opa-Locka, Fla.

According to Victoria Diaz, a senior majoring in fine arts with a concentration in painting, the class visited a community center in Opa-Locka last Thursday, where they worked on art projects with children from nearby elementary schools.

As soon as they arrived, Diaz and her classmates began making kites with the children and asked them to draw designs for bike racks.

“After the children submitted their designs, our class had to get together and synthesize about 200 drawings into six designs,” Diaz said. The class then built models of those designs and asked the children to vote on their three favorite models.

Diaz and her classmates spent the last three weeks of the class building the three bike racks that the children selected. Though the class did not have much experience in welding, they managed to finish a few days before finals ended.

“When we started, no one in the class knew how to work with metal,” Diaz said. “By the end, we made professional-grade bike racks.”

This year, Lynn and her students will partner with the Gibson-Bethel Community Center in South Miami to aid children in their after-school program and senior citizens who live in the area.

They will also work with Alex’s Place, a treatment center for children with cancer and blood diseases in the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UM’s Miller School of Medicine.

Senior Natasha Mijares, double majoring in creative writing and art, has enrolled in the class. She is excited about helping local communities through art.

“I chose this course because I was inspired by the students in the previous year’s class,” Mijares said. “Right now we are reading and discussing the idea of socially engaged art to discover the possibilities that are available to us.”

For more information on the Socially Engaged Art course, input ART 315 on the UM course search engine or email Professor Lynn at blynn@miami.edu.

Featured photo courtesy Flickr user 仁仔 何

 

January 21, 2015

Reporters

Zishi Wu


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Eleven football seasons ago, after the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers met at the Orange Bowl for ...

University of Miami fans no doubt are loving the Hurricanes’ two newest tight ends. What they’re pro ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Though UM wasn’t called for a single penalty against ...

Two of the best athletes and a freshman quarterback on the No. 21 University of Miami football team ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball program won its third straight match in 3-0 fashion on Friday night ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team registered two straight-set wins Friday ...

It's been over a decade since they last met, but Miami and FIU are set to renew their crosstown ...

The University of Miami cross country team gears up to compete in its third meet of the season this ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a five-year contract extensio ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.