Students Paint Their Interpretations of Black History

By Thea Marshall, Staff Writer-

Students at UTC portrayed the meaning of what Black history means to them through the influence of art.

West Campus’ first socially distant event of the semester Paint-N-Black, was held on Feb. 22 with local artist Rondell Crier. Students participated while Crier safely presented through Zoom. 

Crier sparked creativity with three targeted prompts and an inspiration piece. He then had each participant create a portrait of what Black history means to them.

“As you can imagine, everyone had a different interpretation of what Black history means,” said host, Jennifer Ellis. “We encouraged them to go with what made sense for their vision.” 

Prizes donated by Ellis and Housing and Residence Life were given to those who attended. Ellis chose a grand prize winner, who painted a personal portrait of her stepfather. 

“For me, it was hard to choose a winner because there wasn’t one painting I wasn’t in awe of,” Ellis said. 

Housing advertised the event effectively enough that all seats were full. Even residents from different halls came to participate. 

Ellis said she found students enjoy events where they can decompress from studying. She said art is also a great way to open up discussion on topics that can be uncomfortable. 

“I hope they learned something about themselves, art, Black history, and their own ability to be creative,” said Ellis. “So many of them left feeling proud of the work they’ve done.” 

After a long fall semester without in-person programming, Ellis said she wanted to make this event something worth going to. She wanted Paint-N-Black History to be a way to get participants to continue to think about these topics long after the event. 

More information on West Campus Housing and future events can be found here

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