Haitian paintings go from scrapbook to artwork



By Alicia Brab

When Lauren Buswell decided to teach art to children in Haiti, she never thought their paintings would end up on the walls of a UK building. But with a new exhibit at the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library, that is exactly what happened.

The library is now home to a temporary exhibit featuring artwork by children from the Good Shepard Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, which was devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12.

The artwork was part of a teaching project by Buswell, art education junior, during her last visit to the orphanage.

Buswell visited Haiti last spring break and summer vacation, teaching children how to make homemade paper using a blender and screens and to create a color wheel using paint. The paintings were part of a scrapbook Buswell was keeping to remember each child.

She originally intended to  keep the paintings for her portfolio, but she returned and showed the artwork to her professor.

“And the next thing I knew, (the paintings) were being put on display,” she said.

Gail Kennedy, director of Little Fine Arts Library, was excited when she heard about the artwork because of the compassion of the story behind it.

“I found her story so touching and thought it was a really great way to personalize what has happened to children there,” she said.  “You could tell the children loved and appreciated everything Lauren had done for them.”

Buswell said the showcase was a way to make some wishes come true for children who are living in an underprivileged situation.

“So many children want to be artists and this may be their only chance to have their artwork shown,” she said.  “I hung their pictures on a column and they would point and smile at their work.  It meant so much to them that someone cared enough to hang their pictures up.”

Following the earthquake, the children from the orphanage contacted Buswell to let her know they were okay, Kennedy said.  The orphanage was located near the epicenter of the earthquake and the building is now unlivable.  Buswell plans to make a return trip to the orphanage this spring break to help rebuild it with the Wesley Foundation.

Currently, the children are living in the open grounds of the orphanage. Kennedy said she understands Buswell’s desire to return to these young artists in the wake of a disaster.

“Knowing that children are living on the grounds of the orphanage waiting for help, makes you want to go help,”  Kennedy said.

To help with the cost of the trip, the foundation will have a fundraising dinner Feb. 20 at the Centenary Methodist Church on Tates Creek Road at 6 p.m.  The menu will include authentic Haitian cuisine served by Buswell and other foundation members.  For tickets call Lauren Buswell at 270-635-1127 or contact the UK Wesley Foundation.