On Thursday evening, March 30, PBU’s Penndel Resident Life Team, the Culture and Arts Association (CAA), and PBU-Students in Free Enterprise (PBU-SIFE) together hosted The Gallery, an event that highlights PBU students’ contributions to the arts.
Following the success of the event last year, the Penndel Resident Life Team decided to coordinate with PBU-SIFE and CAA for this event, expanding it from simply an art show to an event that raised funds and awareness for the Set Beautiful Free campaign. The campaign supports a business started by Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) in Mumbai, India. PBU-SIFE has been working with BTC this year to help rescue women out of human trafficking and teach them business skills, working to expand their small enterprise with the goal of business ownership for the women.
The impetus of the partnership between the student groups started with two students, Saritha Pethongpoon, a senior Social Work and Bible major and Penndel Resident Assistant, and Michael Rothermel, a sophomore Business Administration and Bible major and PBU-SIFE Director of Media. “Over the summer I had painted a piece based off of a photograph that Michael Rothermel took while on the trip with SIFE to India and wanted to find a way to donate towards the cause of the Set Beautiful Free campaign,” Saritha explained. “As Michael and I were brainstorming on avenues for which the painting could be auctioned, it dawned on me that we had opportunity to co-join our organizations for Penndel’s The Gallery event that I was already a part of planning as a Penndel RA. It seemed like a natural fit for the Set Beautiful Free campaign because that would be featured as the theme of social justice that was already designated for this year’s Gallery event.” PBU-SIFE and the Penndel Team enlisted the help of CAA as the student arts organization and moved forward together. Each participating student artist donated one piece to be auctioned off for the Set Beautiful Free campaign.
“I enjoyed seeing the artwork of other students here at PBU,” said freshman Emily Troia, “I think it’s a great way for students to show the creativity God has blessed them with.” The visual arts were not the only way students shared their creative abilities; live music was provided by various pianists throughout the evening.
Participating student artists were Harry Mikula (sophomore; Social Work and Bible), Hannah DeMarco (senior; Secondary English Education and Bible), Brian Green (junior; Music), Leah Sizemore (junior; Elementary/Early Childhood Education and Bible), Mary Holzer (senior; Discipleship Counseling), Bri Deane (senior; Elementary/Early Childhood Education and Bible), and Alexandria Dickerson (sophomore; Social Work and Bible).
Evan Curry, Resident Director for Penndel, thought it was one of the best collaborative efforts by student organizations that he had seen. “The resident life team, PBU-SIFE, and CAA really pulled together to provide student artists with a stage for their artwork and offered a chic art event for PBU and the surrounding community for a great cause. I was pleased to see the support the artists received at the event. People were smiling and having fun, the Indian-fusion food was a hit, and we were able to raise some money for Set Beautiful Free.” Michael shared his thoughts on the event and a video recap on his PBU blog.
Saritha summed up the goal of the evening: “Our vision was that this night would be one of meaningful conversations and engagement. We wanted to invite not only the student body, but also faculty and staff members and the greater community to come on campus for an evening to celebrate the artistic talents of our own students and participate in the cause against human trafficking in India. We wanted to create an atmosphere that would allow for intentional conversations about the arts and social justice and how Christian artists can glorify the Lord with their creative abilities.”
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