Meet the Team: Lindsey

lmp-0276An interview with Lindsey, our Business Liaison:

*Why your major? What got you interested? What is the story behind picking your major?

Throughout high school, I was always enrolled in art classes and business classes. When it came time to think about what I wanted to do for college, I chose business because I wasn’t sure where exactly an art degree would take me. Being someone who was a lover of photography, design, art, and the business world, I didn’t want to give up the creative side of myself. After I visited Messiah, I poked around a little more on the website and stumbled upon the degree for Art Business and I never looked back! I feel like the Art Business degree is a perfect blend of studios and business classes. My goal with this major is to help those in the art field navigate the business world, which is something not everyone is aware of.

*Why ABC? How do you see ABC being where your passion and the world’s deep hunger meeting? How has ABC impacted you?

Simply put, I just love ABC. When I heard Ally and Dani discussing ABC and what their goals were during that meeting with the Career Center, I could see their passion for art and serving others. Art is such an important aspect of life, even though it’s overlooked. A lot of people view art as a simple subject as drawing or paint on paper. The passion and emotion in art are so intriguing. I’ve always wanted to help others understand and navigate the world of art. Art and artists can be extremely intimidating, but I want everyone to see how art encompasses all aspects of life.

ABC has given me an insight to art services I have never experienced before. Dani, Ally, and Katy have been a constant support system. Whether it’s meetings about ABC, ideas about locations that would benefit from art, or discussions of everyday life…I can’t thank them enough for involving me! I can’t wait to see how much more ABC impacts my life.

*Who got you interested in art?

My freshman year of high school I was in art class with a bunch of students who had no appreciation for art and it’s process. They were simply trying to survive the required Art 1 class. Being a quiet and shy person who obsesses over grades and such, I finished all my assignments early and eagerly waited for my teacher to give me another topic. Ms. Haak constantly pushed me and had me submit work for competitions, while the rest of my class slept not the floor (not kidding here-the student who sat next to me slept almost every day). I was so hurt for my teacher. She had an obvious passion and love for art, while her students ignored and mistreated her. But, she made me fall in love with art by her simple kindness and encouragement.

*Who is your favorite artist?

Gustav Klimt–I know he’s commercialized but seriously I’m obsessed

*What are your plans after college? What are your future hopes and dreams?

I’m one of those people who plan lightly. I always say to never make a plan and have your heart set on it, because it never happens the way you want it to. I’ve battled with the idea of going to get my Masters in Education after undergraduate graduation. But, I’m not set on the idea. I’d love to see where ABC goes and grows.

As a small business owner (wedding photography), I am already booking into 2018, I hope to continue to slowly grow my business. Serving brides and grooms on their wedding day is such a special gift. But, I would love the opportunity to work in an art gallery or museum. Whether that be in a small gallery outside Harrisburg or Baltimore..or in the city of New York, I can’t wait to see where God takes me.

*What are your hobbies? What are you doing when you aren’t studying?

My hobbies are photography, crafting, and reading. I love photography! But, I am an introvert and enjoy staying in all day to read my favorite book (The Hunger Games). I also love to craft and create, which is another outlet for my personal art.

To view some of her photography work, check out her website here.

Meet the Team: Ally

lmp-0147As an incoming freshman at Messiah College, I was determined to become a Special Education teacher upon graduation, following the four years ahead. My major and future trajectory path completely changed halfway through my sophomore year, but let me back-track to the most inspiring encounter, in regards to Special Education, I experienced as a junior in high school. This one event sparked my interest in both art and the healing of children.

In high school, as a member of National Honor Society, the administration expects one to participate in volunteer activities. Back then, I loved the idea of volunteering but had minimal experience prior to the coerced involvement. The first event that I helped with was the Annual Elementary School Carnival, and I was in charge of the face-painting station. Combining both my artistic knowledge and my compassion for children, my art teacher at the time reassured me that I would enjoy myself in this position; I did, and more.

I remember these moments in slow-motion and the memory will always give me goosebumps. A woman, a TSS, tapped me on the shoulder, and I turned around. She stood next to a young girl, situated in a wheelchair, who only came to the carnival to get her face painted. I knelt down beside her and asked her what she would like me to paint.

“A butterfly,” she said.

I asked her what colors, and I remember her favorites were pink and purple.

It took me about twenty minutes to paint the butterfly because she had little control of her actions and movements, and I adored every second I spent with her.

I will never forget when I showed her the reflection of her cheek with the butterfly. Her face lit up and she smiled so big, clapped, and giggled. It was one of the sweetest interactions I have ever had, and so I realized that I wanted to work with children like her and hopefully someday make them smile with something as simple as a butterfly.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college, I met Dani. Dani and I had one thing in common: our knowledge of art therapy. Prior to my face-painting experience, I was planning to become an art therapist, so I had done plenty of research about the field and still felt a passion for its growth. More people need to know about the opportunity that art can provide.

When Dani and I started Art Beyond the Classroom, our passion for art and children allowed our dreams to flourish. Dani desires to become an Art Therapist in the near future, and I know she will be the perfect fit. Our symbol of reference is coincidentally the butterfly, because for both of us, there is special meaning and intent behind the beautiful creature.

After being stationed at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital alongside Dani, I was blown away by the support and excitement that both we and the children received for the art project. Our overseers work in the field of Child Life, which is a career path that I was not familiar with at the time. After leaving our first session, I remarked to Dani “This is crazy but I can see myself doing what they do, working in a hospital,” which is something I never imagined I would say.

So, I decided to change my major to Human Development and Family Science. I am currently in my second year of the major and I could not be happier. My dream is ultimately to become a Certified Child Life Specialist at a hospital and to provide a source of hope for children who are losing theirs.

The alteration of my career path is only a minimal result of the transformation I have seen in myself since Art Beyond the Classroom officially launched. I am able to see past a child’s diagnosis and see the child for who she or he truly is. That is crucial in order for the hospital setting to become normalized for a child and his or her family. Children are our future, and we, as a generation, need to do everything in our power to provide them with love, care, and a sense of hope, even in the most difficult circumstances. Although I cannot personally relate to each child’s medical condition, through art, we come to a solid ground in which we can communicate and connect in a way that does not need words. That is the true meaning of what we stand for, and that is the message that Dani and I will always strive to achieve.

Our Story: Forming ABC

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Buechner

Art Beyond the Classroom began as an idea in a Messiah College Created and Called for Community Class (CCC), but the passion was laid on our hearts long before. As a freshman, Dani was talking to one of the art professors, Professor Dubin, about her personal goals to become an Art Therapist. Nonchalantly, Professor Dubin said “why don’t you start a program?” That offhand comment got Dani thinking, and she has shared many times before that Professor Dubin believed in her before she believed in herself.

Then the first week of CCC, Ally and Dani were paired together for a class icebreaker to find out similarities. Dani, then an Art Education major, said she liked art therapy, and Ally, Human Growth & Family Sciences major, said she liked art therapy as well. That day, they decided to start the program. That semester they reached out to a local organization to provide creative intervention services, and to Dani and Ally’s delight they accepted.

In the fall of Sophomore Year (2016), enter Lindsey Markle. The Career Center on campus led a session on beginning a creative art group, and Lindsey said that she wanted to collaborate. Lindsey, as an Art Business major, has been our “go-to” for all of our business questions about advancing and expanding ABC. Lindsey also runs her own photography business, which provides her with real-world application and advice for ABC.

Finally, Katy met Dani through an Educational Psychology class where they teamed up to present on Service Learning. They talked at length about how service learning had impacted their lives in high school, and Dani shared stories about current her service learning in college. Katy was instantly intrigued, and Dani offhandedly  shared the need for a logo. Little did she know that Katy had done graphic design in high school. Quickly, Katy volunteered to make one, and the butterfly logo was born. Katy and Dani remained friends, but Katy did not contribute much more over their Sophomore year. Then in the fall of their Junior year, Dani asked Katy to come on as their Media Coordinator.

Each one of these interactions reaffirmed the quote we each talked about in our CCC classes: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Buechner). Dani desires to allow people to express any way they want through art. Ally has a passion for healing families through art. Katy loves telling stories through words and art. Lindsey’s technical skills in the business world allows her to impact people through art. We each met each other seemingly on a whim, but it was all actually so purposeful.

Today, we are competing in Messiah College’s Impact Venture Challenge, added five new team members, and preparing to open two new locations. Our office is wherever there are four chairs, a table, and coffee.

Meet the Team: Dani

Dani Kepner is the Co-Founder and Director of Art Beyond the Classroom. She is studying Studio Art-Psychology, an individualized major similar to that of a college with a Pre-Art Therapy major. The only difference is that Dani will not have an internship under an Art Therapist as an undergraduate student. Instead, she practices her love of art and her heart for helping others through this organization she created with Ally Morgret and Dr. Elizabeth Dubin.

FullSizeRender.jpgIt may be easy to think that ABC is all that Dani enjoys due to the amount of time she spends developing and sharing about the program. However, a generally unknown interest of Dani’s is coaching; specifically, coaching basketball. She played basketball for 11 years leading up to a career-ending back injury and then proceeded to assistant coach for two years. She hopes that in her future, she can practice both of her passions.

Dani believes that the mind of a coach and a mind of a leader for ABC have many overlaps: first and foremost, you always want the best for your members/players. Whether it is in action or during a “practice” or meeting, the coach/leader always desires intentional growth and personal fulfillment throughout their time. Second, though you are seemingly “in control,” a coach/leader of ABC is never fully in control of the student they are hoping to teach. In basketball and in art, you can have the best intentions to demonstrate a specific point when, in reality, the learner takes away a completely different message. It is a challenge that Dani enjoys to navigate; the perception of the human mind is fascinating and a journey worth exploring! Finally, coaching and leading in ABC involve full dedication—giving all of who you are in hopes of bettering someone else for a season, a reason, or a lifetime.

Dani has been so encouraged by the love and support of all of her friends and family around this journey she has taken through Art Beyond the Classroom. The people she has met through this program have ultimately bettered her for a lifetime and she is ever grateful for that.

Meet the Team: Katy

lmp-0215Katy Trice (me!) is the ABC’s Media Coordinator, which means she is in charge of sharing ABC’s story. Currently, she maintains our WordPress blog with the help of our Historian and posts to our Instagram. Katy has been a Graphic Designer since high school, and even though she did not pursue Digital Media in college she still loves to create in any way possible. Her major actually is English with a Secondary Teaching Certificate. To her, English and Media are intertwined. To be a good designer you also have to communicate through the art, whether that art is digital, text, photo, graphic, etc.

She became a part of ABC when Dani and her became friends in a college class, and Dani mentioned that she needed a logo for this internship. Katy chimed in that she could make one, and did Dani have any idea what she wanted. Dani suggested a butterfly because life is always changing and needs small miracles like butterflies. Some designs in the works include logos and slogans for each of our locations, and clothing designs.

ABC is a way for Katy pursue and share her love of art through sharing ABC’s story. She has a passion for children–hence the Teaching Certificate. And not only is she contributing to ABC, but ABC is contributing to her growth as a Teaching professional by learning education styles and philosophies from her creative peers within the program.


We Are Growing…

to grow: (verb)

  1. to undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity
  2. become larger or greater over a period of time; increase

Just two years ago Art Beyond the Classroom was a dream and an idea, but we are so happy to be able to share that we are expanding. We are growing. Over the past few weeks we received applications from many talented and inspiring artists that wanted to join us.

We are so happy that we have added five new artists to our “team,” and we are in the process of placing them at a location. This is such an exciting time for our organization, and we can’t wait to train, to talk with, and delve into what art beyond the classroom looks like. ABC is service, the joy of discovery, dedication to a cause, and way to provide expression.

By adding these five new artists to our team, our group has grown from our little group of four to nine. (And we have lots of others that want to be members supporting us!) Congratulations to our applicants that were selected; we are so happy to have you!