Raising money for arts the right way: hot chocolate in February


UK’s Art Education Association knows how to recruit. In the Visual Arts Building on Bolivar Street, they have served hot chocolate to shivering students in February.

Rebecca Watters

On a cold day in February, students hustle from class to class, doing their best to bundle up and keep warm from the wind and snow.

Off campus, in the Visual Arts Building on Bolivar Street, two students, Art Education and Art Studio senior Hannah Shomaker, alongside Art Education and Art Studio junior Sarah Detraz, sit at a table selling hot chocolate and coffee — something to help incoming students warm up from their journey outdoors. Above the table reads a sign that says “Happy H’Arts.”

Shomaker and Detraz are members of UK’s Art Educators Association chapter, and in selling handmade valentines and warm drinks, they hope to raise money for a conference over spring break.

“We are going to Chicago for the National Art Education Association conference. The conference is chance to network with other peers and professionals in the field. It’s a three day conference,” said Shomaker, president of the UK chapter.

According to adviser and art education lecturer Beth Ettensohn, six students will be attending the conference in Chicago. The Happy H’Arts Sale has been going on for several years.

“Happy H’Arts began with Mary Henton when she was a faculty member here, so it’s been in existence for over six years. We have some customers who have come back every year since then,” she said.

For Shomaker and Detraz, the project means more than just fundraising for the conference. Now that the Visual Arts Building is officially open, they hope this program encourages students to travel off campus and see the place where they spend much of their time.

“We really want to bring people out to the building,” Detraz said. “It’s about community outreach.”

With that goal in mind, Detraz, the president-elect for the organization, has some big ideas for the coming year.

“We are working toward planning free community workshops and creative outlets. We’ve done hospital visits and attended festivals downtown, but we want to get more involved,” she said.

In the past, the organization has painted a mural at the UK Pediatric Hospital’s ICU. Projects such as these go beyond just getting the organization’s name out, Ettensohn said.

“The bottom line is we are gifted visual artists, and we want to share that with others,” she said.

As their day at the table wraps up, Shomaker shares what it truly means to be involved in this organization and the reason they are all dedicated and excited for the conference.

“The people. I think it’s really great that people, faculty included, are so passionate,” Shomaker said. “I’m friends with everyone in this group, and I know that we are all passionate about art.”