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ART 297 students get creative with sustainable materials

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Penn State students enrolled in ART 297, a special topics class, are challenging the way they think about traditional art materials by creating their own sustainable elements. The class is connected with the Student Farm at Penn State through the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, with a goal of growing plants they can then use to make pigments for their art projects. The class’s pairing with the Student Farm allows students to explore more sustainable ways to create their art materials.

“I’m a drawing and painting major and wanted to find a way to make my own paints to leave less of a carbon footprint. The Student Farm was more than willing to work with us to achieve that,” shared Sara Rebarchak, a student in the class.

ART 297 is taught by adjunct assistant teaching professor Kim Flick. Professor Flick is a mixed media artist with a love for creativity and shares her passion as a visual arts instructor through community events, retreats and workshops. In addition to credit courses taught at Penn State, Professor Flick teaches at the Sustainable Studio, Pennsylvania Wilds Cooperative, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, Central PA Pastel Society, Clinton County Arts Council, Farmland Preservation Artists, Bellefonte Art Museum and the Art Alliance of Central PA. 

While the class is open to any major, the students in Flick’s class all seem to share a common interest: sustainability. “I’m really interested in sustainability and how to save and conserve resources. I think it’s really important to raise awareness about sustainability and seek out avenues that we can take to save the environment, ” said ART 297 student Hannah Faulds. 

The students learn to preserve lost and forgotten arts through many different techniques, such as painting with eggs, milk, homemade ink, mineral pigments, etc., and come out of the class with a better understanding of not only what it takes to be a more sustainable artist, but a more sustainable human being. 

Story written by students in COMM 471