Our Office: A Misnomer

With two months until the finale of Impact Venture Challenge, we thought we would take a moment and reflect of all the places we have set up “shop” to be our office. The criteria? Well, four chairs, a table, some outlets, coffee, and the team. We joke so much that we have many offices and that we should share just how many we actually have!

1. The Art Education Room

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IMG_5138The Art Department at Messiah has been supportive of ABC since day one. In the fall we used the Art Education Room to host an information session about ABC and recruit volunteers. That meeting in the fall lead to six new volunteers and a new active location. Today, that room is a home base for us to discuss and catch up about how things are going.

2. The Union

Even though we don’t have a picture…the Union has been our go-to for quick meetings. We have sat down in the Union for as quick as 20 minutes to get the team up to speed to over an hour going over decisions. Essentially, those short meetings as the Union keep us in the loop and sane.

3. Climmahega Drawing Studio

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There have been many nights and mornings after doing art and reflecting together, we have come together to refine, to correct, and to perfect our business plan for IVC. As with all meetings, we have learned this year that sometimes we get to make really easy decisions like colors and art supplies, and we get to make really hard decisions too, like how much stake we each have in ABC.

4. The Library

IMG_5274IMG_5520For those days where we don’t get to do art before our meetings… we go to the library. Some days we just need to focus and dig into business plan changes. The library is much more quiet than the Union, but it still has coffee and snacks for all our needs.

5. Boyer Resource Rooms

IMG_5275For those times when need a “meeting of [all] the minds,” we will find the first open resource room and get to work. Pictured here was in the Fall right before Christmas Break where we fleshed out homework. Our ladies did such a great job writing cover letters and getting their clearances before contacting our new locations. At Messiah College, we have a couple of buzz-phrases and one is being intentional. Following that example at ABC we seek to be intentional in our interventions and make sure our volunteers are professionally prepared even before contacting a location.

6. Mac Lab

IMG_5548Big shoutout to Caris Ciccarello to filming our beautiful ABC video! The weeks leading up to finishing our video, there were many afternoons and nights some of us would meet in the Mac Lab to talk and discuss music and narrative of the video. The end result you can watch on our home page! In these last few months waiting for the results of IVC, you’ll be sure to find us around campus discussing our business plan, talking to new volunteers, and reflecting on our experiences in the field.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

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.