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TCC students combine art and community service


While many students are writing reports and studying for tests, one Tallahassee Community College faculty member has her students expressing what they’ve learned in a unique way.

Lindsey Smitherman-Brown had one of her humanities classes build a large sculpture made of donated food to resemble artist Jasper Johns’ painting, “Flag.” The build took four hours and used 378 cans of soup, 44 boxes of pasta and 122 cans of tuna. The students also organized an on-campus food drive where they collected another 120 food items for TCC’s food pantry.

The purpose of the project was to help students see that art can be both beautiful and meaningful, and it is often the medium through which people learn to care about global and community issues. The project began with students identifying creative works that commented on issues of public concern or served as a solution to community problems. They explored works from artists such as Banksy, who created the Dismaland installation in the U.K. and donated the timber and fixtures to create migrant shelters in a French refugee camp.

“Students are nearing the end of their time here at TCC and I want them to understand two things,” said Smitherman-Brown. “First, the humanities are not confined to our studies in the classroom. We are surrounded by the humanities and enjoy them each and every day. Second, students are members of a community that desperately needs them to participate.”

flag 3.jpg

The students decided to focus their project on hunger, an issue that affects around 115,000 people that live in poverty in the Big Bend region. After the sculpture comes down, all food items will be donated to the campus food pantry.

Smitherman-Brown hopes that this experience will encourage her students to give back to the community in their own way.

“Whether they continue service in the community, become politically engaged, or choose future employment to provide services or solve problems in their community, I want them to begin to understand their ability to offer skills and knowledge to benefit the public good.”


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