Words: Maryam Elhabashy
“We feel that although art is used for portfolios and personal development, it is seldom used to directly help those who are less fortunate in our community. It’s nice to create art, but it’s even better to share it and use it to further a cause.”
Those are the words of Daniel Park when asked what the inspiration was behind creating the Howard County High School Art Charity. Mina Sun and Daniel Park, both students attending Centennial High School, initiated the project which created a correlation between art and the community that has never been thought of before.
The charity, known by those involved as HSACC, was created to help high school students around the county do what they love while helping others. The way the program works is that students all over the county can donate their art pieces to art charity collections at their own schools. All the art donations are collected, and then sold at different values and venues. The money that is received via the sale of the pieces will go to the United Way of Central Maryland.
“Their main functions [of the sales] are assisting families who are literally on the brink of becoming homeless and encouraging education among their children,” said Park. Both founders recognize how devastating the loss of a home must be and how detrimental the loss would be to the education and future of the children faced with the circumstances.
When Nan Collins, one of the art instructors of Centennial, was presented with the idea in early April, she was excited and looking forward to getting the project started.
“I was very proud that my students had organized this project that would go to such a noble cause,” said Collins, who wasn’t the only one to be thoroughly affected. The United Way of Central Maryland was “very impressed,” described Collins. “They were very moved that students organized this and chose this organization [to donate to].”
Creating such a project came with hardships, the foremost of them doubt. “We thought that the most difficult part would be receiving enough pieces, and this has proven itself somewhat true due to the recent AP weeks.” Collins added to the list of obstacles saying that it wasn’t particularly easy “figuring out the logistics, how to collect the artwork, convincing students to give up a piece of their artwork…” Collins has been doing what she can to convince her students to enter submissions from their sketchbooks rather than pieces of artwork that they are looking to preserve.
The project has made good progress; however, it isn’t making as much progress as Park would like to be making. “We’ve managed to collect around 40 pieces as of now, but we’re hoping to get some more before the end of the year rolls around,” said Park.
Collins, along with Sun and Park is considering making HSACC a continuous program. “We have initially planned to end the collection in June and sell the pieces all in September, but after recent discussion, we have decided to make the processes of collection and selling a continuous process throughout next year. We hope that this may become a lasting tradition at Centennial.”
Collins is also working to form a small committee within the National Art Honor Society. The only thing holding them back is the lack of time. Collins remarked, “It’s a busy time of the year.”
Despite the crazy schedules that come with the end of the year, there is still plenty of time to enter artwork. For anyone that would like to donate small pieces, there is a folder in the bin by the front of Collins’ room. Larger pieces are to be brought into the room and handed to Collins. For those interested in helping out, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sun and Park are examples of how simple acts and ideas can make huge differences in society. There is opportunity for everyone everywhere. “If you have a cause,” said Park, “it’s never too early to contribute. It’s not difficult at all to find a charity project and find people who are interested in improving the lives of others as long as you truly believe in the cause that you’re working for.”