Students create art on shirts, aid Japan

Published 9:11 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

The crazy days of summer don’t usually begin until after the final school bell of the year rings. But, at Troy University, the “crazy” days started on Monday and by Tuesday there was a huge explosion of excited craziness.

Troy University art students, Stefani Slaughter and Yuka Nareta, were so “up in the air” with excitement that their feet wouldn’t touch the ground Friday when Greg Skaggs, university art instructor, handed them a check for $2,200 for doing such a crazy thing.

“We had no idea that our fundraiser for the American Red Cross Japanese Relief Fund would do this,” Slaughter said. “Yuka said if we could raise $500 that would be awesome. Just look at this!”

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Slaughter and Nareta turned the check this way and that way and every way they turned it, the dollar amount was the same, $2,200.

“What’s so amazing about this fundraiser for the Japanese Relief Fund is that these students put it together in a week’s time, “ Skaggs said. “It involved the Art Club and art students. They really got behind it and made it work.”

Not only was the project a fundraiser, it was also an art project that involved silk screening t-shirts.

Nareta’s family is in Japan but they were unscathed by the earthquake and tsunami. However, the art students wanted to do something to help the people in Nareta’s home country.

“We thought that we could print ‘Help Japan’ designs on tee shirts and, in all, we had six different ones,” Nareta said.

“We printed them here at the university and students bought tee shirts and brought them to be screened.”

Slaughter said there was such a mad rush for the tee shirts that, by Tuesday, they were overwhelmed with work to do.

Nareta said there was an “explosion” of demands for the tees.

“Russell Athletics donated 50 t-shirts to us and we sold all of them,” she said. “We never thought that we could print and sell so many t-shirts. Then, we had to start buying some t-shirts because people kept ordering them. It was more than we could have ever believed.”

Until the art students had to buy shirts to print, there was a 100 percent profit on each shirt sold.

“We learned a lot about silk screen printing and now I could work in a t-shirt print shop,” Slaughter said, laughing.

Just how far $2,200 will go in providing relief to the thousands in Japan, the students don’t know. What they do know is that it feels good and right to do something for others.

“For two days and two nights, we had a sweat shop going,” Nareta said. “It was a lot of hard work but it was something good that we could do.”