By: Cory Berlekamp
As a part of the Pursuing Cultural Humility grant, on Oct. 29, students, faculty, and the surrounding community were exposed to the culture of recovery and art in Findlay.
Volunteer coordinator at FOCUS, Ben Hippensteel, and fourth year pharmacy student at the University of Findlay, Victoria Ayoola, hosted the event “Right Brain, Right Recovery”, in the Jebbett Meeting room at the College of Business building.
The event showcased pieces of art from four different local artists who were inspired by people in the community that were going through recovery.
“Since I have a studio at the Jones building and know the artists here in town, I thought it would be really cool to connect people who were in recovery with artists in town,” Hippensteel said. “The person in recovery would sit down with the artist and tell them about their journey and then the artist would be inspired by the person’s story and would create a piece based on their story.”
According to Hippensteel, this project is a part of the larger grant of Pursuing Cultural Humility that the Buford Center on campus was awarded last year.
“The key was to create a project within your community that created a culture of humility, diversity, and exposure of something completely different than something Findlay hasn’t seen before, or wasn’t aware that was there,” Hippensteel said. “Within that, I wanted the people in recovery to be exposed [to] the art world and the art culture and realize that they are cultural beings and that their story had power in a different way.”
Ayoola and Hippensteel were paired together after Hippensteel’s original student partner graduated and Ayoola’s initial project fell through with Century Health. According to Ayoola, she was more than happy to work with Hippensteel on the project.
“At the end, I really do think it was good pair because I recently got connected with art because I took a painting course in the spring,” said Ayoola. “Ever since then, I have been diving into this little area of art culture that I didn’t know that I had so when they told me that I could be paired up with Ben, I was like ‘yes, I’m all for it’.”
According to Ayoola, her main goal did not change when she first joined the Pursuit of Cultural Humility project, but since then it has become more focused.
“For me, my main goal was to be able to connect with somebody in the community that’s basically being inspired about what I am going to be doing when I graduate,” Ayoola said. “Now, my goal is that people will be truly touched by this experience, that they learn something new, and they have a different mindset about both art culture and recovery culture.”