SINCE 1990, Wheaton has offered one of the only undergraduate Community Art programs in the United States.
Wheaton Community Art
“I call it a celebration of the possible, with our eyes set on doing more together,” Leah Samuelson, associate lecturer of art, says. “We’re looking for ways to continually develop our views, our cultures, and community.”
In addition to completing projects and courses on campus, students partner with local organizations to teach free art classes to refugees and residents of all social classes.
“I love the outreach part of the program,” says David Hooker, associate professor of art and department chair. “It gives our majors hands-on experience and connects our department to a diverse array of people doing amazing things right here in our community.”
Students have interned for organizations in downtown Chicago including Urban Gateways and The Field Museum. On campus, students have installed murals and mosaics in North Harrison Hall, Traber Hall (pictured above), and the Barrows Auditorium lobby, touching on themes of mental health and biblical narratives.
Professor Hooker notes: “To be a community artist is to step into the lives of others, to walk with them, to listen to their needs, and to use art as a means to facilitate change.”