UMW Artists Dove Into Service Project

Led by studio art major Lauren Horton ’11, art students brought the beach to the King George County home of cancer survivor Sonja Jeanguenat-Gallahan by painting a tropical scene on a poolside eyesore. Photo by Robert A. Martin/The Freelance-Star

During inauguration weekend this fall, UMW art students got an unusual canvas on which to showcase their work – a big white storage trailer. The artists turned their talents on the neighborhood eyesore and gave something beautiful to the community.

Five-time cancer survivor Sonja Jeanguenat-Gallahan called UMW’s art department last summer. Could anyone there add some panache to the unsightly vehicle parked beside her aboveground pool, she asked. Art studio major Lauren Horton ’11 answered the call and soon set to work developing a plan to bring the beach to Jeanguenat- Gallahan.

Horton corralled a group of fellow students who were eager to contribute, and they headed to the woman’s home in King George County, Va. Brandishing paint-dipped brushes, they transformed the trailer into a picture of tranquility, creating a beach-scene mural complete with palm trees, puffy clouds, and soothing sand and surf on one side and beach-related paraphernalia, tropical drinks, and a tiki bar on the others.

“It’s all driven by enthusiasm to reach out to the community and use our talents for good and something besides ourselves,” Horton told the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. “ ‘Community service’ were the two words that got everyone going.”

Horton wants to help other art students do service projects, she said, so she documented the planning that went into the trailer work. She would like UMW to require service as part of its art major.