Art Ed Students Make the World Better

Posted September 21, 2009

Can art lead to clean water? At Kendall it can. Kendall's Art Education students reached out to bring clean water to third-world countries with a unique fund-raiser that was also a part of full-circle curriculum design.

This integrated lesson, written by Art Education Assistant Professor Donna St. John, began with a brain-based, integrated art lesson that examines the art of typography and the science of psychology. An integral par t of the lesson was a psychological concept called "thin-slicing." Discussed in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink, the concept says that as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience. In this case, the lesson investigated whether what a person wears changes how they feel or affects the first impression that they make on others.

Students studied good design and typography, psychology and first impressions, and the importance of reaching across disciplines to design a stronger educational curriculum for the classroom. Then, putting learning into practice, the students designed a T-Shirt with the express purpose of eliciting a reaction. Amy Tenbarge, a Masters of Art Education student, designed the winning "Make Art, Not War" t-shirt design. Art Education students sold the shirts, raising over $250.00 for the World Vision program to bring clean water to people in need. The lesson plan has been published by the National Education Center.