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SIVA showcases work by students set to earn Master of Arts degrees

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 28, 2014 — The public can see a diverse array of artwork from Drury University’s Summer Institute for Visual Arts (SIVA) this weekend during a thesis exhibition by graduating students and an open studios event.

Since 2007, SIVA has offered students an opportunity to earn a Master of Arts degree by working alongside visiting artists in a critically driven environment. Participants study under the guidance of visiting artist fellows, faculty and staff, who provide first-hand understanding of contemporary art issues. The program – a unique model in the Midwest – allows students to earn a Master of Arts in Studio Art and Theory over the course of three two-month summer sessions.

MART Thesis Exhibition

A thesis exhibition of artwork created this summer by students graduating from the MA in Studio Art and Theory (MART) program will be held from 7 to 10 p.m., Friday, Aug. 1 at the Drury on C-Street Gallery, 233. E. Commercial St., with additional hours from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2.

The MART Thesis Exhibition is the culminating event of the three-summer program in which students explore and develop a self-directed, intensive studio practice. Work presented in the Thesis Exhibition is wide-ranging in form, material and theme, and reflects a curriculum that supports multidisciplinary and individualized approaches. It is a wonderful opportunity to see the work of an imaginative and innovative group of emerging artists in the region.

This year’s MART Thesis Exhibition features work by: Suzanne Axon, Matej Baran, Carlynn Forst, Jan Gill, Thomas Primm, Jennifer Rice, Dina Shisler, Bill Shultz, Kelli Stricklin and Lee VonAllmen.

SIVA Open Studios

SIVA Open Studios will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2 at the Pool Art Center, 940 N. Clay St. Open Studios is a new annual event that opens up the Summer Institute for Visual Arts to the public and features work from all participants. It is an exciting opportunity to meet the program’s vibrant and diverse community of artists, witness their process, and see what work has been created during the summer.

More information about SIVA can be found at www.drury.edu/siva. Photos showing the wide array of creativity at work during SIVA are being uploaded regularly at www.flickr.com/photos/siva-mart.

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Student chooses Drury thanks to summer camps

Aaron Sawyer begins his college career at Drury University this fall. But unlike most incoming freshmen who’ve spent perhaps a day or two on campus prior to move-in day, Sawyer has spent the last six summers here making memories with truly like-minded friends.

The Sikeston native is one of hundreds who have attended Drury’s summer camps for academically gifted students since 1981. The camps give kids like Sawyer a chance to be around others who are equally as bright, curious and engaged.

Aaron Sawyer

“It can be difficult” to be a gifted kid in school, he says. “You almost feel like you don’t want to talk for fear of being different.”

The camps are for students from pre-K to 12th grade and are divided by age groups. The camp for middle school students (called Summerscape) and the camp for high schoolers (Drury Leadership Academy) are wrapping up this week. Programs for younger students took place in June.

Sawyer began coming to the camps in middle school. He’s taken classes on digital photography, philosophy, speech and debate, the human body, Rube Goldberg machines and more. He’s made great friends, too.

“You’ll make friends here and come back next year and continue a conversation you left off last summer like no time has passed,” he says. “It’s a unique experience I feel like you don’t get many other places.”

Sawyer says being away from home in a college-like environment has helped him come out of his shell.

“If I hadn’t been (coming to the camps) for this long, I probably wouldn’t be able to give this interview,” says the soft-spoken Sawyer. “I would have been way too nervous.”

Sawyer plans to double major in history and education and hopes to become a college professor. He chose Drury before his sophomore year in high school.

“I feel like (Drury) has invested a lot of time in me and I’ve invested a lot of time here,” he says. “It almost felt like there wasn’t a question that I wouldn’t go here.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

 

 

Greece trip combines science and business studies

Citizenship, business sense and science came together for a few weeks this summer as 10 Drury students traveled to Greece to study geography and the environment.

The group traveled to Aigina, Greece – a town on an island of the same name where the university has a satellite campus called the Drury Center. They spent three weeks working in two teams. One team focused on the physical geography of the Aigina coastline by conducting water quality tests and studying marine debris. The other team addressed cultural geography by studying how recycling and composting can help local agriculture.  Both projects were connected to real life on Aigina with the active participation and expertise of local farmers and civic leaders.

“The Drury Center was amazing,” said professor of the class, Dr. Sean Terry. “They set up meetings with local experts and even translated from Greek to English in live interviews.  This local knowledge inspired our students about local sustainability efforts.

The students conducted academic research in advance so they could more easily focus on actual fieldwork once they arrived, Terry says, adding that they were able to “see how science can be applied in real-world situations to make a positive difference in a community.”

DU students in Aigina

Despite the science focus of this class, most of the students weren’t science majors – nine of the 10 were business majors. A study abroad experience is required of all students in Drury’s Breech School of Business. The trip and its impact on the students illustrate Drury’s interdisciplinary approach to education and engaged learning.

“This was my first trip abroad and it was the most enlightening trip on which I’ve ever been,” said student Jesse Allard. “It was a completely new experience seeing another culture and really trying to immerse myself within it.”

Results from each project highlighted the need to increase local participation in environmental initiatives. Water quality tests at several beach locations came up clean, but plastic trash on shore was an issue. The beach team cleaned up approximately 600 pounds of plastic waste in two days, and the Drury Center itself is committed to a plan that will see Drury students “adopt” Colona Beach permanently. It is hoped that this could lay the groundwork for local schools to “adopt a beach” and maintain the momentum in the future. The students met with local environmental leaders and a middle-school principal in order to learn how the adoption efforts might move forward.

“The projects were a great way to connect with the local community members and make a difference that will be visible to all people who visit the island of Aigina,” says Mallory Long, a junior majoring in accounting and finance.

Ryan Fitzgerald, a senior biology major, said the trip has already changed the way he lives at home.

“The influence that the project has had on my daily actions at home is incredible,” he says. “I have begun to recycle more and look for any chance to help make a cleaner world.”

The second team learned about the relationships between agriculture, solid waste and the Aigina economy. The island currently ships in much of the fertilizer used by local farmers and ships away its trash because of lack of landfill space. All of that costs money, and there’s currently an effort on Aigina to increase composting of food waste to reduce these shipping and hauling costs. Food waste typically makes up 30 to 40 percent of the trash we throw away, Terry says.

“Our study was to calculate the potential benefit of taking that food and separating it from the trash and composting it on the island. Would there be a local use for it and a local market for it?” Terry says.

The head of the local composting association and the president of the farmers’ association both agreed that composting is not only a benefit, it is becoming an economic necessity. A project in Kalamata, Greece, indicated that local farmers and the community can both benefit from the use of fertilizer made from local food waste. A composting demonstration hosted by the Kalamata group drove home how science, the community, and government must all be involved in order to solve this type of problem.

“In a short period of time, this group of students was able to apply concepts they were learning in the classroom to the local context through meaningful engagement with community leaders,” says Eleni Dellagrammaticas, director of the Drury Center in Aigina.

The community nature of the projects made an impact on Jesse Allard, a senior accounting major.

“It was so much fun to see the community members so interested and excited about the work we were setting up,” Allard says. “They genuinely appreciated what we were doing and wanted to be involved.  I think studying abroad is essential. As the world becomes ‘smaller,’ I think it is more important than ever to understand and appreciate other cultures so we can all work together and maximize the potential of the human experience.”

Terry hopes the groundwork laid during this experience can be used by future Drury students to help explain the global nature of sustainability issues.

“I was so impressed by the progressive ideas of the Aigina community,” he said. “The beauty of the island, and the passion of the local people to improve it make it a perfect learning laboratory for our students.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Gifted summer camps culminate in projects, demos this week

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 21, 2014 — Academically gifted students from across the Midwest are once again on the Drury University campus for the summer’s second round of camps aimed specifically at this high-achieving group.

This time around it’s middle- and high-school age students who are in camps organized by Drury’s Center for Gifted Education. Activities for pre-K and elementary school students took place in June.

The camps – called Summerscape for middle schoolers and Drury Leadership Academy (DLA) for high schoolers – allow students to take two weeks of in-depth classes and go hands-on in areas that interest them such as robotics, photography and videography, improv comedy, bio-ethics, world culture and much more. They are considered “pre-college” camps in that students live on campus and participate in activities ranging from games to lectures in the evenings. DLA students can potentially earn college credit for completion.

“The camps not only give this particular group of students the kind of enrichment they crave, but they also provide them with a sense of community and give them a taste of what life is like on a college campus,” says Mary Potthoff, Director of the Center for Gifted Education at Drury.

Summerscape and DLA are now in their second week. Media are invited to cover the camps this week as several performances and demonstrations take place. These include:

Tuesday, July 22

DLA students will compete in an “Iron Chef” style cooking competition as part of class on learning healthy lifestyle habits for college. The contest will take place at 11 a.m. at 1214 N. Summit Ave. Instructor: John Post.

Summerscape students taking a class in aerodynamics will be building model airplane fuselages at 10 a.m. in Lay Hall room 211, and then demonstrate high-pressure water rockets at 11 a.m., at Sunderland Field (green space south of Sunderland Hall). Instructor: Asikaa Cosgrove.

A large service project involving all DLA campers will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Boyd Elementary, 1409 N. Washington Ave., just north of the Drury campus. DLA participants will work on major projects such as installing a track, helping with the remodel of the school library and more. The service project is organized by a group of longtime DLA students returning for a final year of camp following high school graduation.

Wednesday, July 23

DLA students studying slam poetry will hold a poetry slam for the public at 1:30 p.m. at the Park Central Branch Library, 128 Park Central Square downtown. Instructor: Gretchen Teague.

Summerscape students studying Rube Goldberg machines will put together and demonstrate a large device in the zany Goldberg style from 9 a.m. to noon in the lobby of Findlay Student Center. Instructor: Darline Taylor.

Drury has been a national leader in providing education and enrichment programs for academically gifted students more than 30 years. The Drury Center for Gifted Education is the most complete center for gifted education in the state of Missouri and is one of less than 20 complete gifted education centers in the United States. Visit Drury Gifted Education for more information.

Opportunities for coverage are available each day of the camps. For more information on these and other opportunities this week and next week, contact Mary Potthoff at (417) 885-8089 or (417) 873-7386.

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Summer Institute for Visual Arts offers free public lectures, workshops

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 15, 2014 — Now in its seventh year, the Summer Institute for Visual Arts is in full swing across the Drury University campus. Several upcoming events are free and open to the public, including lectures, open studio demonstrations and displays.

Established in 2007, the Summer Institute for Visual Arts (SIVA) at Drury University provides an intensive two-month period each summer that allows students to focus on artistic development in a critically driven environment. Participants study under the guidance of visiting artist fellows, faculty and staff, who provide first-hand understanding of contemporary art issues. The program – a unique model in the Midwest – allows students to earn a Master of Arts in Studio Art and Theory over the course of three two-month summer sessions.

SIVA is under new leadership this year, as Sarrita Hunn takes the reigns from founder and longtime professor of art and art history Tom Parker. Hunn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury in 2001, majoring in Studio Art, Art History and Philosophy. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2004. She is also currently the residency program director for the Luminary in St. Louis, and co-founder and managing editor of art criticism website Temporary Art Review.

“I am very excited to join such an innovative graduate art program,” Hunn said. “With our new visiting artist fellows structure, we are bringing in artists teaching at the best graduate programs across the country and Europe to work with our students.”

Opportunities for the public

The public can hear from visiting artist fellows Andrea Polli and James Gobel this week at two open lectures presenting their work, and go “hands-on” with Polli at an upcoming workshop called “Art & Biology: High Tea.” Biographical information about Polli and Gobel can be found online.

Andrea Polli will give a presentation about her work at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 16 in the Olin Room (lower level) at the Olin Library. Polli is an artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology whose practice includes media installation, public interventions, curating and directing art and community projects and writing. She holds the Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

James Gobel will give a presentation about his work at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 23 in the Olin Room (lower level) at the Olin Library.  Gobel creates paintings made of felt, yarn and other fabrics that refer to a range of artistic movements. He is currently an Associate Professor of MFA Fine Arts and Assistant Chair of the Painting/Drawing Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

“Art & Biology: High Tea,” a hands-on workshop and social gathering exploring the beauty of art and biology, will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., Thursday, July 17 in the Trustee Science Center, Botany Laboratory Room 142. Modeled after a traditional British “high tea,” participants will enjoy relaxing conversation, snacks and refreshing tea. Participants will also learn about groundbreaking and sometimes shocking biology and bio-art projects from all over the world, view a range of microscopic life, extract caffeine from tea using state-of-the-art science laboratory equipment, and more. No prior science experience is necessary. For your safety please wear closed-toe shoes and cover your legs (long pants) and arms. Space is limited to 20 people. RSVP at andrea@andreapolli.com.

More information about SIVA can be found at www.drury.edu/siva. Photos showing the wide array of creativity at work during SIVA are being uploaded regularly at www.flickr.com/photos/siva-mart.

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Drury grad heads to Oxford for three-year research fellowship

From Nixa to Drury to Oxford, Ashley Maher is an example of how a liberal arts education can open unexpected doors.

The Nixa native graduated from Drury in 2008 with a degree in English and creative writing. But she began as architecture major. She was then able to combine her interests in architecture and literature while earning a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. Her dissertation looks at the influence of modern architecture on 20th century British authors, many of which worked as contributors or editors for architectural journals. This fall she will begin a three-year Junior Research Fellowship at Oxford University.

Maher was interested in studying architecture from the time she was in the third grade, and Drury’s architecture program was one of the major reasons Maher decided to attend Drury.

AshleyMaher

“I liked math, art history, and the fine arts and my father manages a lumber and hardware store, so I had some early exposure to the building industry,” she says. “I also took a couple of drafting classes in high school. I found the architecture classes I took at Drury interesting, but I felt that a change of major might be in order when I realized my favorite part about the classes was writing the analysis papers.”

Maher appreciated how her instructors at Drury made themselves available to continue discussing topics raised in class during their office hours. Several faculty members were great sources of advice as she began her own academic career. She also had the opportunity to study abroad in the U.K. where she conducted research at the archives of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

“Studying abroad in London gave me a better understanding of British politics and culture, which fanned my interest in 20th century British literature,” Maher says. “I’m looking forward to digging into the literary archives at the British Library and other locations around the U.K. when I move to Oxford in September.”

The Oxford fellowship is extremely competitive and is typically awarded to those approaching the end of their doctoral research. Maher will use the fellowship primarily to expand her Ph.D. dissertation into a book and to start her next research project. She will teach classes as well as participate in seminars and other programs across the university.

Maher and her husband David Ruvolo, are excited to start their journey in London as newlyweds.

“As for the charm of Oxford, the university has wonderful archives and academic resources,” Maher said. “I look forward to interacting with and learning from the scholars working there who are further along in their careers than I am.”

After Maher completes her three-year Junior Research Fellowship, she hopes to find a position as an assistant professor either in the United States or London.

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Story by Colombe Iyeza, Drury marketing & communication office intern. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

 

Two architecture alumni recognized as emerging leaders by the AIA

SPRINGFIELD, MO., July 2, 2014 — The American Institute of Architects (AIA), the industry’s leading professional membership organization, has recognized two Drury University Hammons School of Architecture alumni as young leaders in the field.

Evelyn Lee and Jason Dale Pierce were among the 18 recipients of the 2014 Young Architects Award for outstanding leadership and contributions to the architecture profession. They formally received the award in front of their peers at the AIA National Convention in Chicago last week. Lee and Pierce were the only awardees from the same undergraduate university. There are more than 120 accredited architecture programs nationwide.

Shani Barel Photography

Lee, a 2002 graduate, was involved in the AIA student group while she was at Drury and feels she was well-prepared when she entered the architecture profession.

“Drury gave me a well-rounded experience for my career, which was great because I help a lot of different clients,” Lee said. “My involvement with the Drury AIAS chapter definitely contributed to my involvement later on with AIA, too.”

Lee currently works for MKThink, an architecture firm in San Francisco. Lee has also been consistently involved in volunteer leadership service throughout her career and has held elected leadership positions at the AIA on local, regional and national boards. She is the youngest person to serve on AIA National’s Executive Committee. Lee’s work has been published in multiple media outlets, and “has driven the profession in a more environmentally, economically, and socially responsible direction,” according to the AIA.

Jason Pierce

Pierce graduated from Drury in 2000 and currently works in the St. Louis office of architecture firm HOK. Pierce started a Young Architect Forum (YAF) chapter at AIA St. Louis, eventually becoming the YAF liaison for the Central States. He currently serves on the board of AIA St. Louis and is a member of the advisory group of the AIA National Practice Management Knowledge Community.

“This important national recognition for Evelyn and Jason is evidence of something we’ve known for some time: Hammons School of Architecture graduates have a talent for leadership — which often gives them advantages as they progress through their professional lives,” says Dr. Robert Weddle, interim director of the Hammons School.

Established in 1984, the Hammons School of Architecture is an accredited five-year professional degree program offering a Master of Architecture degree. The required architecture courses are integrated with the liberal arts curriculum of the university, which prepares students for a professional architectural practice within the broadest possible educational context.

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Drury Scholars prepares African-American students for college

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 23, 2014 — This weekend Drury Scholars began its seventh summer of providing academic and cultural enrichment for local African-American middle school and high school students.

The Scholars program began in 2008 with 15 African American males in an attempt to close the racial achievement gap. It has since to expanded to include young females and grown considerably. This year, about 45 students are in the weeklong program.

It began over the weekend with a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas where students explored African-American historical sites such as Little Rock Central High School, a key location in the fight to desegregate public schools in the United States. Throughout this week, the Scholars will focus on college readiness by writing essays for admission and scholarship applications, and studying for the ACT. They’ll meet with local black leaders such as entrepreneur Lyle Foster and former City Council member Denny Whayne. Classes with Drury faculty are also part of the curriculum.

Local students, global impact

This year Drury Scholars is partnering with a Springfield nonprofit project called For Burkina, which is raising funds to build a school in the impoverished West African nation of Burkina Faso. For Burkina is composed of local young professionals, including several recent alumni of Drury’s Hammons School of Architecture, led by Brittany Layton and Benjamin Hall. Its goal is to fund, design and build a three-classroom primary school for a rural village that will educate more 120 children a year.

Burkina bricks 3

On Sunday evening, the For Burkina team and the Drury Scholars made clay bricks and mosaic tiles. On Wednesday they will paint the bricks and tiles with patterns and artwork depicting African folk tales starting at 4 p.m. at Pool Art Center. Media are invited to cover the event, as well as the entire Drury Scholars week. The bricks and mosaics will later be made available for purchase online, at First Friday Artwalk and at local retailers. All of the proceeds will go towards the $32,000 cost of building the school in Burkina Faso. Materials and supplies have been donated by local businesses including L&R Specialties, MosaicaRose, National Art Shop and Sapp Design Associates Architects.

“We love the partnership with For Burkina,” said Peter Meidlinger, co-founder of Drury Scholars. “Our students will contribute to funding much-needed schools in Burkina Faso. We will all learn about the desperate need for schools in Burkina and the value of education to young people. We’re excited to be a part of the important work that Brittany Layton and Benjamin Hall are committed to.”

“The For Burkina team is thrilled to be working with local kids in order to fund a school for kids in Burkina Faso,” said Benjamin Hall, co-founder of For Burkina. “To be able to work with my alma mater and to be able to see the enthusiasm and dedication toward not only the For Burkina mission but also toward the Summer Scholars students is encouraging.”

Burkina bricks 2

Drury Scholars will continue throughout the week. For more information about Drury Scholars, contact Dr. Peter Meidlinger, (417) 873-7469, pmeidlin@drury.edu; Francine Pratt, (417) 873-6827, fpratt@drury.edu, or Mike Brothers.

For more information about For Burkina, contact: Benjamin Hall, (417) 227-0045, aschoolforburkinafaso@gmail.com, or go to Facebook.com/ForBurkina.

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Summer camps for gifted students underway

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 18, 2014 — Gifted young students from across the area are keeping their minds in shape over the summer break during camps organized by Drury University’s Center for Gifted Education, in partnership with Springfield Public Schools.

Drury provides a summer experience for gifted students of all ages, from pre-K through the 11th grade. The younger age groups are in camps right now, and the older students’ camps will take place in July. Each summer, more than 700 total students attend these camps.

The current camps (called Summer Pals for ages pre-K through grade 1, and Summer Quest for grades 2 through 5) are taking place from each weekday 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. at Weller Elementary School, 1630 N. Weller Ave. The hands-on, activity-oriented courses feature an array of interesting experiences geared specifically toward gifted students. Summer Quest and Summer Pals give students a chance to interact with peers of similar academic abilities and interests, while encouraging them to use their intellectual and creative sides.

“It gives them a sense of self and a sense of community,” says Mary Potthoff, Director of the Center for Gifted Education at Drury. “And it builds on what they’ve learned in the classroom during the school year, keeping their minds engaged during the summer break.”

Drury has been a national leader in providing education and enrichment programs for academically gifted students more than 30 years. The Drury Center for Gifted Education is the most complete center for gifted education in the state of Missouri, and is one of less than 20 complete gifted education centers in the United States. Visit Drury Gifted Education for more information.

Media are invited to cover the Summer Quest and Summer Pals camps. Some of the more interesting and visually appealing courses include:

Thursday, June 19; I Want To Be A Veterinarian! – A guest speaker will introduce students to therapy dogs and tell students how they can volunteer their time with animals to help others.

Tuesday, June 24 & Friday, June 27; Calling Future Astronauts – Students explore the moon, solar system, black holes and more, as well as the future of NASA’s space exploration programs.

Wednesday, June 25; Magical Science Show – Students use science to perform magic tricks at an open house performance for their parents.

Wednesday, June 25; Polar Bears, Penguins & Seals, Oh My! – Students discover how penguins, seals, walruses, whales and many more Antarctic animals live.

Wednesday, June 25; Dinosaurs Alive! – Students study paleontology. On this day they’ll take a field trip to Riverbluff Cave, which contains findings dated to the Pleistocene in age, the time period that spanned from 1.8 million to 11,000 years ago.

Friday, June 27; Around the World in Eight Days – Students will present all the countries they have “traveled” to and many exciting facts about each.

Opportunities for coverage are available each day of the camps. For more information on these and other opportunities this week and next week, contact Mary Potthoff at (417) 885-8089 or (417) 873-7386.

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Students help Missouri Hotel residents unlock expressive potential

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 11, 2014 — For fourteen years, a unique class at Drury University has helped residents of the Missouri Hotel unlock their expressive potential and encouraged them to think about their lives in new ways.

The class is called Building Community Through the Arts and its goal is to provide the Hotel residents an artistic outlet over the course of two weeks, with a final public exhibition from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Friday, June 13 at the Missouri Hotel, 420 W. Commercial St. The Missouri Hotel provides shelter to homeless men, women and children. It is a program of The Kitchen, Inc.

The course offers the students an experiential approach to everyday living and learning, while giving them a chance to make a difference in the Drury neighborhood at the same time. It is open to graduate and undergraduate students of all majors and the 2014 class includes those studying biology, theater, religion, education, architecture and more. The seven students have been using their varied skill sets to connect with the residents of the Missouri Hotel.

“The idea is to inspire them, motivate them and give them something that’s their own and that they can feel proud of,” says Madison Miles, a fourth-year architecture major.

This year’s theme is “Don’t Stop Believing” and some of the artistic endeavors have included dancing, singing, drawing, paper weaving, designing T-shirts and more. Some of the subject matter has been heartfelt – such as the reactions to the 2012 fire that briefly displaced residents and damaged several rooms at the facility.

“Through art, we are getting to know them and they’re getting to know us,” says Yufei Zhao, a senior religion and philosophy major.

Students gain valuable insights and context about poverty through the book A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. The text has been in the spotlight in the Springfield community during the last year, including a high-profile visit by the author in February.

“It’s apparent very quickly that it’s a false stigma that these are people who are untalented or uneducated,” says Evan Stelzer, a senior psychology major.

The Drury students are learning about the power of connecting with others from different backgrounds — and about the power of art.

“So much can be said through art,” says senior biology major Ali Barnes. “Before I took this class, I did not know you could do such a thing.”

Media are invited to cover the class as they work with Missouri Hotel residents from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. today and Thursday, and the reception on Friday. The reception is free and open to the public.

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