Students in TU’s chapter of the National Art Education Association lent a helping hand—with paintbrush attached—to The Children’s Home in Catonsville, Md., last week.
The facility, which offers shelter and therapeutic programs to abused and neglected youth aged 13 to 21, needed help building and painting 200 bird houses—the party favors for a gala celebrating the home’s 150th anniversary on Oct. 25.
“The gala’s theme is ‘Everyone deserves a home’,” says TU senior Christine Long, NAEA chapter co-president, explaining the reason the facility chose birdhouses as gifts. “We’re happy to help and will also staff an art booth at the gala,” she adds.
About a dozen young women, mostly art education majors, gathered in an art room at the Center for the Arts building on Oct. 17. Seated at two long tables, they nailed the wooden birdhouses together—there were two different types—and then took brush in hand.
The volunteers hunched over the avian residences, adding color and designs to the bare wood. There was little conversation, only an occasional comment or two about a professor or a class. Mostly, the students were intent on their brushstrokes.
The project took far longer to complete than anticipated. Long says, “Most of us took birdhouses home to paint them or painted them between classes.” Many students also spent their weekend as housepainters to meet the completion deadline.
Gail Lee, director of development at The Children’s Home, appreciates all the time and effort of the Towson students. “I want to thank the students in the National Art Education Association for their support of the 150th anniversary of The Children’s Home,” she says.
The finished birdhouses were awash in a cornucopia of colors and styles, from rustic to Victorian to pastels resembling a Lily Pulitzer print. Dots, dashes, stripes and sponge painting adorned some of the roofs and walls. A purple and black house was inscribed with “Raven’s Nest while another had a Halloween theme with pumpkin and a cat. Other houses sported decorative flowers, grasses, vines or birds.