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College of Design prepares for upcoming Art 4 Shelter event

Participants made art for the auction, which benefits people who are experiencing homelessness.
Image by Avery Vrieze
The art event took place on Tuesday in the Rapson Hall Courtyard.

The University of Minnesota’s College of Design (CDES) partnered with Simpson Housing Services on Tuesday to make art for their Art 4 Shelter auction, which takes place May 3. 

Participants who stopped by painted and talked to Simpson Housing representatives about the cause. According to their website, the Art 4 Shelter event has auctioned art by local artists for 14 years.

All the proceeds from the sales go to Simpson Housing Services’ shelter and housing projects, benefiting those experiencing homelessness, according to their website.

Lilly Kuiken, a third-year University student majoring in product design, is a member of the CDES’s alumni board and helps plan events students and alumni can participate in. 

Kuiken said while past service events were incredibly important, they were not design or art-oriented. She added that it is exciting to see the events start to trend that way.

“It’s starting to get more in that direction with art,” Kuiken said. “The discipline of design is centered around improving users’ experiences or people’s lives in general. It can enhance everyone’s experience as a designer.”

Hoping to collaborate with Simpson Housing Services in the future, Kuiken said she has taken steps to strengthen the partnership between CDES and Simpson Housing Services. 

“The Art 4 Shelter event is a good step in a lasting partnership with Simpson Housing Services with the College of Design,” Kuiken said. “I talked with some of the folks at Simpson about other design projects that they would have that we could help with in the future.”

Katelyn Jaksha, lead volunteer coordinator at Simpson Housing Services, said it meant a lot to be at the event. She added that she is hopeful this partnership will continue to build relationships with students and lead to more events in the future. 

“It’s cool that we’re able to collaborate with this younger generation for people to both learn about Simpson and the social justice issues around housing,” Jaksha said. “As well as using people’s passions and the arts, to make those two things come together.”

Additionally, Jaksha said the free event on May 3 is a fun way to bring the community together for a good cause. 

Kiki Gerard, a third-year student, said she had not heard of the Art 4 Shelter event before sitting down and painting but wanted to support it once she knew the meaning behind it. 

“It’s a cool way to support the city and people in need,” Gerard said. “It’s a nice little break from studies, as well, to do a little mini art project.” 

Similar to Gerard, Kelly Kozlov, a third-year student, said she came to the event not knowing what Simpson Housing Services was. Her intentions going into the event were to support people in need while being creative. 

As a member of the Community Engagement Scholars Program, Kozlov said she is required to attend service events. This event in particular was an opportunity to obtain the requirements while also doing something she enjoys, she said. 

“I hope to connect with people on campus working towards helping the community,” Kozlov said. “We’re a big student body, and working together to do something for the wider community around us is super cool.” 

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