Art 383: DePaul Students Provide Art Classes for MSV Children at St. Vincent DePaul Center
Connecting Communities | March 2022
DePaul University has been an instrumental partner to Marillac St. Vincent Family Services for many years. A recent partnership we are excited to highlight is DePaul’s Service Learning in the Arts Internship: Art 383. This elective course, taught by Brother Mark Elder, C.M. pairs students with non-profit art-related organizations and provides them with a practical and career-centered experience.
Meg Sampson (Double Major in Art and Communications & Media, Class of 2023) and Haleigh Carr (Art Major, Class of 2022) have been working with the school-aged children at the St. Vincent DePaul Center in Lincoln Park. Meg and Haleigh intern three afternoons a week during their Winter Quarter (Jan-March), sharing their knowledge and love of art with the Kindergarteners through 6th graders.
They have utilized MSV’s dedicated art therapy room for planning and materials, as well as provided the service of cleaning and organizing the space. The lessons are done in the classrooms. We are grateful for Meg and Haleigh’s service to our students and had a chance to ask them about their experience so far.
What attracted you to taking this Art 383 Class that includes service work?
Meg: It was the service element of it for me. I had not done any internships, but I had done service work before. It was nice to be able to come in with some volunteer experience and share my knowledge and skills in a more practical, working environment.
Haleigh: My mom has always worked in early childhood as a center director, and I used to help her out back home in Ohio. I’ve been wanting to work with kids again and it’s been such a good synergy working with the students at MSV and bringing art to them.
What type of projects or curriculum do you focus on with the kids at the St. Vincent DePaul Center?
Meg and Haleigh: We have a variety of projects planned each week for the course. We organize lesson plans based on how long each project will take and go week by week. We made the first week a combination of art and science sharing with the students about how salt works with art and water when playing with watercolors. Other weeks have been holiday based, like art for the Lunar New Year. We have done tie-dye coffee filters and even paper lanterns as a project. The kids loved it and they were cranking out lanterns! We had a station to tie them together when they were finished, they were so excited they even made lantern necklaces for themselves.
What are some highlights of the class?
Haleigh: We’ve learned more about how things work in the professional world, teaching these kids has shown me how to “be more of a grown up.”
Meg: It’s been helpful to connect the things I do in class with “real world” experience. This opportunity has shown me a glimpse of the working paths available for someone who studies in the art field. It is interesting to hear how other DePaul students with different internships interpret their experience in their not-for-profit setting compared to us. One main theme of discussion has been working in a corporate vs. education setting.
What would you say to someone interested in taking Art 383 in the future or working with the children of St. Vincent DePaul Center?
Haleigh: I say go for it! It’s very rewarding and I can’t believe we are halfway through the class.
Meg: It’s been nice to have the freedom to plan and come up with projects. We’re able to think about what we enjoyed as kids and apply that to what the kids at the St. Vincent DePaul Center would enjoy.
How has your experience translated to MSV’s mission – “…to strengthen, empower and give voice to those in need…”?
Haleigh: When we first met the kids, we observed that some of them were more artistically inclined, so our classes have allowed them a chance to better express themselves through the medium of art. They’re developing skills they maybe didn’t know they had or would enjoy. They are growing as kids and as artists.
Meg: I agree with Haleigh, I noticed this especially true with the older kids. The younger kids’ energy is wonderful and very fun, and I love working with them. But the older kids have different priorities and we’ve been able to see some of them break out of their shells. Art always tells a story and it’s been great to see them tell their own stories through it.
Interested to learn about ways you can support the St. Vincent DePaul Center?
Learn more about ways to donate, volunteer or work at MSV.