Press Release, Amanda Lance, Hempstead Hall Director
Hosea Born, an art teacher at Yerger and HAPS, brought a group of five students to the Capitol to be recognized for their participation in the project. Dr. Kathy Pillow-Price, project manager for Promoting Positive Emotions program from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, welcomed the students and guests to the Capitol Rotunda. Dr. Pillow-Price spoke of the importance of mental wellness, especially during a pandemic. She also awarded each of the students with a certificate that thanked them for their work on the “Kindness Travels” art piece.
One section of the 3-part installation, featuring the State Flower the apple blossom, served as a backdrop during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s press conference regarding ARHOME (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaJWT_FECGI). Each section features drawings and letters from area students amidst vibrant colors and soothing illustrations. One panel includes an overarching note of support: “the kindness you share brightens so many days; thank you for all of your wonderful ways.”
The students were allowed to informally tour the Capitol Building. “It was really nice to see the Capitol,” said Sophia Finigan. “And it was fun doing the drawings and writing letters to the doctors and nurses and ambulance drivers and older people in Mr. Born’s class.”
“To see the finished project unveiled at the Capitol was amazing,” said Lindsey Honea, president of the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council. “And to spend the day with all of the students from Yerger and HAPS was inspiring.”
“This is only the beginning, and what a great beginning it is,” said Jason Campell, Southwest Arkansas Counseling and Mental Health (project creator). “We encouraged legislators and staff to add to the piece and I was encouraged to see several of them participate.”
“Hempstead Hall is always proud to partner with our friends at SWAAC and it was really special to be approached by SACMH to help promote this moveable and heartwarming project,” said Amanda Lance, Director of Hempstead Hall & Workforce Development for the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. “Our team is currently editing the film from yesterday and will have a beautiful video to commemorate this experience and project soon.”
“Kindness Travels” will be on display at the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council Arts Station before moving to other areas across the state. SWAAC will have a virtual gallery for the community to view the pieces that will be available on March 5, 2021 at http://swarkansasartscouncil.org/
“We are thrilled to host ‘Kindness Travels’ at Hempstead Hall April 5-10 as we begin to open back to the public,” said Lance. “Seeing kindness and encouragement through the students’ words has certainly been an encouragement to me, and I can’t wait for that to be shared with our community.