Catalyst Paints to Help the Homeless

As the students of Catalyst sauntered in, and walked to the beat of the indie dub step style music, Mrs. Spear told the class to get something to eat and relax. The students settled in and organized their trays with their partners. Mr. Weston stood at the front of the class and instructed them on the project.

“Maybe don’t put psychedelic mushrooms on these if you want them to sell to older middle class people,” he said explaining how other artists decorated the trays using Cheryl Kepmner’s simple bird design as an example. The kids all chattered and said a dismissive “okay” and began their work.

Catalyst and Woodshop (run by Spear and Weston respectively), are working for their third year in a row with the Maslow Project to help homeless teens. In past years, Mr. Weston and his class have made wooden stools to sell in the Friday Art Walk but decided to switch things up this year and make trays instead to keep the public interested.

“I get great satisfaction seeing our students support community interests. Seeing what people come up with is thrilling,” Weston said of the Catalyst students that worked on the trays.

Weston and the Ashland Artworks Artist Co-op have put about 23 hours into the project and can’t wait to see how they turn out.

The students were just as excited as the supervisors to help the community. It is “self-satisfaction” Junior Chelsea Whitley said, to help fellow teens who are homeless. Chelsea and her partner discussed where which shade of purple goes on which part of their yin-yang design.

Others too were finding happiness helping out.

“I love doing this; I am happy to paint and give it to someone and have it help them” Dani Stannard said.

Some find the project a slightly worrisome subject.

“I enjoy my work being put into [the Maslow Project], [but] I worry that my artwork won’t be good enough and I won’t contribute” Gaelon Tinder admitted.

Whatever worries the students had were put aside by Mrs. Spear’s kind and inspiring words “It is a great way to come together for a good cause and express creativity.”

The Friday art walk will be October 5 and there will be an abundance of student art including our contribution of the trays.

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