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Drury is Making a Difference One Painting At a Time

With many different forms of art, Drury University and The Kitchen Inc. are bringing members of the community together in a creative way.
Drury Art Exhibit Paper Flower
Dr. Rebecca Burrell teaching students and residents how to create a tissue paper flower./Credit:Amber Carr

From three dimensional art to water colors, Drury University and The Kitchen Inc. have been teaming up to create original art for Missouri Hotel residents. As KSMU’s Amber Carr reports, the program is now in its 13th year.

The Drury class is called Building Community Through the Arts, and promotes engaged learning from a liberal arts perspective. Each year, students of the class work with Missouri Hotel residents to encourage this artistic outlet. Chelsea Mulkey, the student media relations chair for Drury, is touched by the program.

“Honestly, we just want to make a difference in their lives for the two weeks this course runs. We want them to feel special and loved, and we want them to recognize some of their talents,” said Mulkey.

Dr. Rebecca Burrell, adjunct professor of education at Drury, developed this class so students can have an integrated and experimental approach of creativity in everyday learning experiences. From now through June 14th students and residents come together to create different forms of art to display at the Community Reception and Art Exhibit, thanks to suppliers around the community.

“I often say to folk, we operate on a shoe string without a shoe in which to put the string. So we rely heavily upon our community partners who donate supplies,” said Burrell.

From humble beginnings, during the first year, Dr. Burrell would recruit interested artists off the street and hold their classes in the basement of the Missouri Hotel. The Community Reception and Art Exhibit were also held at the hotel. During this time the reception would attract roughly 100 people and that is still true today.

“There is a certain nostalgia about the basement rooms where we worked because those rooms became an absolutely magical place, a studio, a community studio as we all worked together,” explained Dr. Burrell.
The theme for this year is Community as Masterpiece: The art of the Fresh Start. Mulkey says the University is driven to reach out to people by highlighting their talents and encouraging teamwork.  

“We had someone from the Missouri Hotel sing for us after one of our own Drury students got out a guitar and started singing. It kind of opened her up and she shared her talent with us, and it was wonderful,” explained Mulkey.
This will also be the first year that Drury will be working with Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center, which works with homeless and high-risk youth between the ages of 13 and 20. Through this program they are exposed to a safe environment and are able to contribute their talents.   

The art exhibition will open to the public on Friday, June 14th, from 1-3:30 p.m. at Drury on C-Street, and will be on display through the end of June.

For KSMU news, I’m Amber Carr.