Next week, USD professor Jing Williams and her students will be at it again, raising money to support VFW Post 3061. Williams’s students, all future elementary school teachers, have created artwork honoring veterans that will be on display next week at the Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library. A silent auction held in conjunction with the art exhibition will raise money for Post 3061.
This is the fourth time Williams has staged this art show (“In Flanders Field”) and fundraiser for Post 3061 as part of the elementary education class -- K-8 Social Science Methods -- she teaches at USD.
“I love this art project in my social studies classroom not only because it teaches my future teachers how to be creative in teaching, but also because it engages them in learning at a deeper level and it brings the best out of each student,” she said. “My students do not treat this project as another assignment that they have to complete. Instead, they try to personalize their own artwork.”
The students are engaged in all parts of the process.
“My students are totally involved,” said Williams. “They designed the flyer and promoted this event in different ways, such as posting the flyers on campus and in the local businesses, writing news release, and creating a Facebook event. The link of our Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/events/328879087749052/. By doing everything on their own, they will learn how to incorporate a similar project in their future classrooms, which will benefit whichever community they’ll be teaching in. This reflects the objective of social studies education, which is to cultivate young people’s civic competence.”
The resulting show, “In Flanders Field,” includes 46 pieces of artwork created by Williams and the students.
“Viewers will see various types of drawings, paintings, string art, wood work, shadow boxes, wreaths, collages, pottery, and crayon art,” says Williams. “We are not art majors; we are future teachers. What really matters is what our art is good for. We may not create the most exquisite art, but we do what we can and we do our best to honor our veterans. We want to use our artwork to increase the public awareness of veterans’ sacrifice to this country.”
“In Flanders Field” will be on display at the public library beginning Tuesday, Feb. 26, at noon and running until Thursday, Feb. 28, at 4 p.m. Each afternoon of the show, student artists will be on hand to answer questions and to talk with the public. Admission to the event is a free-will donation.
“This is a fundraising event, which will eventually benefit our community,” says Williams. “A fun silent auction will be going on during the exhibition. Community members can bid on the artwork they like. All the proceeds from the free-will donation and silent auction will go to the VFW post 3061 to aid their missions in helping veterans and community events.”
Of course, if you won’t have a chance to view the show next week, donations to Post 3061 are always welcome.
“The Post and I would be very appreciative if anyone would like to make a donation,” says Williams. “Supporting the VFW Post 3061 is supporting the local community, because the Post supports so many local events such as the Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy, some high school projects, the Special Olympics, etc.”
Donations may be sent to: VFW Post 3061, in care of Andy Howe, 45743 308th St., Wakonda, SD 57073.
“Our post is very appreciative of Dr. Willliams’ collaborative efforts to bring awareness to the service of veterans,” said Howe, the Post 3061 quartermaster. “We enjoy working closely with her and we are energized by her enthusiasm. Her work is intended to bring a human perspective to the veterans’ service. … Each year, the students are finding and showing new ways to express patriotism and honor to those who have served.”