In mid February, Martha Campbell, art professor at Mansfield University (MU), called Sara Hamburger at Animal Care Sanctuary (ACS) with a very creative idea. Campbell wanted to take common household furniture, refurbish it, decorate it artistically, and auction it off. But she wasn’t the one who was going to do it.
Campbell is one of the faculty advisors for the MU Art and Design Guild. Her students have to complete a community service project. The students’ project will be to do the refurbishing and artistic decorating, as well as the auctioning. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to ACS.
The Art and Design Guild is an organization right on the MU campus. They do logo work, teach students extra graphic designs, help students build resumes, and find internships for students.
“Everything that I’m doing is actually an internship for me,” said Sarah Smeltz, Art Guild vice-president and senior graphic design major who will be graduating in May. “With everything that I’ve done for ACS it just felt right.”
This isn’t the first time that Smeltz, as well as the other art students have worked to help out ACS. Last semester they did some little projects for the animals, including bake sales, making ceramic tags for the names of the dogs in the kennels, and dog and cat toys.
This time Smeltz said, “Let’s go all in!”
“I was pretty excited about the idea,” said Hamburger. “I think it’s great that both things that I love and feel so passionately about are coming together to help create a positive change.”
Hamburger’s passions are animals and art. Campbell was Hamburger’s art professor at MU while she was acquiring her Masters Degree in Art Education.
“I was always impressed with her passion for art and teaching art,” said Hamburger, referring to Campbell. “She really loved her students and she really inspired them to grow as artists as well as individuals.”
The furniture, mostly chairs, was saved from the old Allen Hall building on the MU campus that was torn down years ago.
Now, 15 chairs are becoming beautifully refurbished for the auction – sanded and painted artistically by the 14 MU students and alumni. Each artist is creating his or her own design. The only requirement is that the chairs have to be functional.
Michelle Schlegel is the other advisor for the art guild. According to Campbell, many times an idea for community service that they suggested didn’t always click with the students. But when it involved ACS, the students loved the idea!
“They’ve gone beyond what was expected,” said Campbell and Schlegel. “The chairs are becoming art. What was once stored in a dusty room will be transformed into a functional work of art for someone’s home.”
“What was one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” said Becca Culver, one of MU’s last graduating art education majors.
“I just think it’s great that we can bring both of our passions together – animals and art,” said Julie Brossman, President of the Art Guild. “A lot of us feel the same way. We’re all animal lovers here. I feel like it’s great that we can help them out by doing something that we love doing.”
The “Voiceless Auction” will be held at Night and Day Café on April 9 at 7 p.m. Night and Day Café is located in downtown Mansfield on the corner of Route 6 and the business Route 15. MU graduate Ryan Fox will be the featured musician for the evening. There also will be refreshments, beverages and 50/50 raffles.
Smeltz had heard of “voiceless auctions” before and wanted to use that idea because it matched her feelings about animals. The word “voiceless” has a double meaning. It is a silent auction, but it’s “voiceless” because animals have no voice to speak up for their rights. We have to be their voice.
“In life sometimes things happen to us that we just wish we had second chances,” said Sarah Smeltz. “That’s what Animal Care Sanctuary believes in – second chances. I want to give those animals second chances.”