By Riva Sharples
The Plain Talk, October 14, 2022
The Plain Talk, October 14, 2022
Now through Oct. 20, USD Professor Jing Williams and her students are presenting, “In Flanders Fields,” an art exhibition and silent auction at the Vermillion Public Library. The annual event, a course assignment and public service project for the students, is meant to raise money and awareness for veterans and VFW Post 3061.
This year, 12 works of art created by the 11 students in the class along with Professor Williams are on display.
“I have a small class size this fall, with only 11 students, comparing to 35-45 in the past,” said Williams. “Honestly, I thought about not hosting the art exhibit this semester due to a small number of students. But when I think about our veterans and their families, especially the ones that didn’t make it back home, I convinced myself that I must continue doing this art project and keep the public awareness of our veterans’ contributions and sacrifices alive in our community. Veterans should not only be remembered on the two federal holidays. Rather, they should be thanked for and appreciated every day!”
Not only does the exhibit raise awareness about veterans and their contributions to society, the project also serves an important purpose in the classroom.
“For teaching purposes, it is important for my students, who are future elementary school teachers, to learn the method of integrating service-learning in their future classrooms, so they can work with their students to make a difference in their communities,” said Williams.
At this year’s art exhibition and silent auction, community members will see the unique items created by the students and Williams, including paintings, a unique wreath, some beadwork, a door hanger, and resin coasters.
Since 2016 (except during the Covid years), Williams and a new class of students each year have presented this art exhibition and fundraiser. Each time, Williams creates a piece of artwork alongside her students.
“This time, I challenged myself to bead,” said Williams. “I’ve never beaded before, but I’m always in awe of the native beadwork; they are so beautiful. My inspiration came from the beaded jewelries in the W. H. Over Museum, and I beaded a pair of poppy earrings.”
All 12 pieces of artwork created for the show will be for sale.
“I hope the community will continue supporting our artwork and bid on them,” said Williams. “We know we are not professional artists; we are teachers. We want to use our actions and talents to show our appreciation for our veterans and demonstrate our willingness to make a difference in our community.”
Williams doesn’t have a goal amount in mind to raise for Post 3061.
“I honestly don’t know how much we will raise,” said Williams. “I guess the amount doesn’t matter. What matters is that we continue to create the awareness of our veterans’ sacrifices and contributions. We also want to use this event to make people reflect on the hard-earned peace and freedom we enjoy every day in our country. … All proceeds raised from the silent auction and the freewill donation will be donated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3061 in Vermillion, to aid their missions in supporting veterans and education.”
“In Flanders Field” is on display through 4 p.m. on Oct. 20. Plan to stop by and take a look!