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The Westminster Bi-Line

Westminster Art Service clubs and their impacts on and off-campus

Penguin origami made by Helen Hong in the Dexterous Hands club, one of the many art service clubs in the Upper School. Credit: Cate Reames

Throughout the Westminster Upper School, several students have created community service clubs based on the arts to use their expertise in their craft to help others and support the causes they are passionate about. These various clubs meet during the scheduled club periods, after school, or during office hours.

Jen Marie Wentzel, an Upper School visual arts teacher, is the faculty lead of the art service club Therapy in Art, led by senior Alexandra Yuan. Therapy in Art is a club that sells student-created pieces to non-profit organizations. Wentzel enjoys the community service aspect of Therapy in Art and how students can liven up someone’s day by sharing their skills. 

“[Students] are using their art and talents to make people smile…and that’s beautiful,” said Wentzel.

She has described her role as a faculty lead as primarily supportive, where students come up with ideas for sellable products for events such as the annual Westminster Alternative Gift Fair. The members’ dedication to the club inspired Wentzel as she enjoyed their initiatives, such as creating paper-mache piñatas, because of all the experimentation and stories that followed from the experiences.

“We all felt like playful little kids again! We laughed a lot and had so much fun together,” said Wentzel.

Another club created to unify students is Dexterous Hands Serve, led by senior Helen Hong. Dexterous Hands Serve originated as a virtual volunteer service club during the 2020 pandemic to allow students to volunteer for important causes from the safety of their homes. The club focuses on creating and piecing together origami sculptures to donate to various organizations. 

In the past, Dexterous Hands Serve has donated origami pieces to City Hope, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping refugee families purchase their first homes and thrive in their community. The members of Dexterous Hands Serve distributed their handmade origami sculptures to refugees and their children associated with City Hope to brighten up their day and give them a reason to smile. Hong also eagerly anticipates the club’s future collaboration with her peers in Mu Alpha Theta, a Westminster math tutoring club.

“We will be hosting a joint meeting with Mu Alpha Theta to teach people how to make these origami sculptures, and we’re going to continue collaborating with City Hope so we can do another donation drive,” said Hong.

The Books for a Purpose club, led by junior Anna Wickliffe, also utilizes origami to sell and donate, but this club’s unique mission aims to promote global literacy. Last year, Books for a Purpose sold around 30 bookmarks at the Alternative Gift Fair and donated the proceeds to Ferst Readers, an organization that provides quality books and other literary resources to developing children in underprivileged Georgia communities. Wickliffe chose to sell handmade bookmarks for the Alternative Gift Fair primarily for their sustainability, and also because the products felt more personal and genuine. 

“We sell handmade bookmarks to [add a] memory into an item that’s going to help others,” said Wickliffe. “We also hope these bookmarks will accompany other children in their journeys through reading and better education.”

Similarly, the Music Service Club, led by senior Jaia Alli, is centered on using students’ musical talents to entertain their audience, primarily senior homes. The Music Service Club meets every club period on Thursdays, where all the members brainstorm new ideas for performances and other prospective locations to perform together. Club members possess various musical talents, including playing the piano, violin, guitar, and singing. 

Sophomore Hailey Culp has been playing the piano for the past ten years and is an avid two-year member of the Music Service Club. She enjoys how music can make people feel, and she keeps returning to the Music Service Club because she wants to give back the emotions she has felt while performing to others who may enjoy the same music.

“What makes music powerful are the moments in time where the listener and performer understand each other without a single word,” said Culp. “At Westminster, the music service club allows for that to happen, and we can also engage with our audiences afterward.”

Sophomore Andy Fang also shares these sentiments and enjoys  performing new types of music to his audiences. He wants to continue doing so to expand everyone’s comfort zones and even introduce some new fan favorites.

“I want to assist in bringing new music to listeners and allow them to immerse themselves in the performances,” said Fang.

Whether it be music or the visual arts, students all over campus have dedicated a lot of time to support initiatives such as global literacy, homelessness, and refugee aid. If you missed signing up for these incredible clubs or any other service club on campus during the club fair at the start of the year, do not worry; you can still support Dexterous Hands Serve’s donation drive at the end of the year and various other organizations during the upcoming Alternative Gift Fair this winter.

Edited by Alexandra Yuan

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