Wednesday, January 7, 2015

OU-C in the news: Heritage Day service awards honor community service


 Chillicothe Gazette (November 2014)

Award winners support artists, domestic violence group

CHILLICOTHE – Before Thursday, Dannie Sutherland had gone her entire life without ever winning an award.

That improbable streak came to an end when Sutherland received one of Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Student Community Service Awards for being a “positive force as an arts organizer and advocate in Chillicothe.”

Sutherland was recognized for her work organizing a series of open art shows at the now-closed First Capital Music Hall. She said she sought to create a casual, inclusive atmosphere where fledgling artists could feel at ease.

“I wanted the community to have a comfortable place to not only display their art but talk about their art and connect with each other through art,” Sutherland said. “If they wanted me to put a name on it, I would. If they would rather be anonymous, that was fine, too.”

By the third show, there were more than 70 pieces on display. Sutherland ended up hosting more than a dozen art shows within a year before the venue closed in February. She tried to move it to another bar, she said, but “it didn’t stick,” likely because the space was too small.

Sutherland, a native of Circleville, is on pace to graduate in spring 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in studio arts. She said that while she appreciated the recognition, the real reward was seeing the open art show concept take off.

“I’ve always just done things for the community — for the community. That was my pay, I guess,” she said.

Also receiving a Student Community Service Award was Samantha Rearly, a double major in sociology/criminology and women’s and gender studies whose class project on domestic violence led to a casino night fundraiser raising nearly $6,000 for the Ross County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Rearly later organized a silent auction to benefit the coalition. Now, she’s turned her focus to creating a resource center for OU-C students affected by domestic violence. She learned while doing research for the class project that half of the coalition’s clients are current or former OU-C students.

“What we’re trying to do is reach students who might not be in a safe environment when they leave (campus), so we built a proposal to form a liaison group between students here and the coalition, a safe place they can go with student advocates who can help them come up with a safety plan and maybe a way to leave if that’s the safest thing for them to do,” she said. “The proposal is done. We’re just working out the kinks.”

Other award recipients Thursday included human services technology students Joanna Graham and Morgan Masters and recent alumni Kimberly Bowers and Sue Colley, both of whom are 2012 graduates of OU-C.

The awards were part of the OU-C Heritage Day celebration.

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