Indiana State University Newsroom

United Way kicks off with art contest

September 28, 2012

A colorful treasure map led those on its path through snow-capped mountains, a large castle and a winding blue river before arriving at a treasure chest marked "United Way."

The treasure map drawing, created by members of Indiana State University's Chi Alpha campus ministry, won first place in the inaugural Arts Fair Contest, an event sponsored by the United Way Committee at ISU. The group received a $250 gift card donated by Barnes and Noble.

"The purpose of the event is for campus to raise money for the United Way in order to help friends and neighbors in the Wabash Valley," said Alberta Comer, dean of Library Services and co-chair of the United Way at ISU. She was "thrilled" to announce that the committee has raised more than $30,500 so far this year, nearly half of their $65,000 goal.

As part of the contest, 15 easels displayed student artwork in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, one for each of the groups that registered. A number assigned to each easel corresponded with a bucket with the same number, where passer-bys could donate money for their favorite drawing.

Donations benefited the United Way, providing food, shelter and a myriad of necessities for those in the Wabash Valley, Comer said. She recalled attending a recent United Way conference where the speaker spoke about hungry children in the area.

"It's 2012. We shouldn't have hungry children. But the fact is that we do," said Comer. "The need is greater than ever."

She said the committee wanted to help the cause as well as offer something enjoyable for students.

"We thought we'd make it a little fun," she said.

The organization had originally planned to use chalk and sidewalk as the medium, but due to inclement weather, changed to a classic paper drawing.

"That's Hoosier weather," said Comer. She added that the change has an added benefit, however, by allowing for preservation of the artwork. The organization plans to laminate the artwork and display it in the library.

The switch to a paper canvas allowed Matt McColley, a senior graphic design major from Muncie, Ind., to experiment with an expressionistic style of drawing. He expressed support for the cause as he sketched an outline of former ISU basketball standout Larry Bird.

"They know how to help people," said Matt McColley about United Way. "They have a presence. People know what they're all about."

At the table next to McColley sat senior Brooke Wardle in process of creating a pink, blue and brown graffiti drawing promoting the Student Government Association, where she serves as vice president.

Now a communication major with a minor in marketing, Wardle said she used to want to be an art teacher.

"I'm obsessed with painting. I love it," she said. "I thought this would be fun and I wanted to help out."

That's the goal, according to Comer.

"We give a big thank you to all participants, both artists and donors," said Comer. "All of the money raised goes to help friends and neighbors in the Wabash Valley."

The United Way's next event will feature a drawing that offers students the chance to win a big screen TV. For more information, look for the United Way tent during Tent City, one of ISU's homecoming festivities on Oct. 6.

Those interested can track the United Way's campaign progress at

Photos: of Chi Alpha pose with their winning entry during the United Way kickoff at ISU. Courtesy photo student creates art during the United Way contest. ISU Photo/Rachel Keyes's entry into the United Way kickoff contest. ISU Photo/Rachel Keyes

Contact: Alberta Comer, dean of Library Services, Indiana State University, at or 812-237-2649

Writer: Bethany Donat, media relations assistant, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, at or 812-237-3773