Bettering the Community with Children’s Artwork

The graduate students of Applied Cultural Anthropology, under the guidance of Dr. Toni Copeland, began a Service Learning Project as a class to serve the community of Starkville and to apply anthropological skills to real world issues. The project aims to strengthen community ties in Starkville through children’s artwork and vision, illustrating a better tomorrow. The graduate students plan to visit the 4th graders at local Starkville schools to explain the project and get them to participate in the project. The goal is to use the children’s artwork to create a mural of some kind that will be showcased in a public place within the Starkville community. Updates will be made as the project progresses.

We hit the ground running last week. On Monday and Wednesday we worked with two great groups of 4th graders at Starkville Academy. On Thursday and Friday we visited Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary and worked with 4th graders in Ms. Libby Cagle’s art classes.

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We talked to the kids about the meaning of community and what they would like for Starkville to look like when they grow up. All of the kids were enthusiastic about the project and had wonderful ideas about how to create a better community.

Some kids drew the kinds of jobs they want to have when they grow up and talked about how these professions contribute to the community. We had vets, doctors, professional athletes, fashion designers, and more!

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One 4th grader drew a military base because he said “they help people when there are tornados.”

Another 4th grader drew a large house because she said “she wanted to live in a house with her family in the city with neighbors around.”

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Next week, we will be visiting Starkville Academy and Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary again and on Tuesday we will be visiting Starkville Christian School for the first time.

Also, look for a brief segment on CBS news tonight (Friday 10-10-2014) about the project, and in the newspaper on Monday! Here is the link from WCBI: http://www.wcbi.com/wordpress/starkville-fourth-graders-create-ideal-city

Dr. Toni Copeland                                                                                                                                                       Assistant Professor

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