A Little Rain Can’t Dampen Our Spirits!

With great enthusiasm, the Harward Center recently hosted community youth on campus for a fun afternoon of interactive and engaging art activities. Welcoming local youth back to the Bates campus was a momentous occasion after a nearly two-year moratorium on such visits due to the pandemic.  Campus visits are a much treasured tradition for young people in the Lewiston/Auburn community, Bates students, and Harward Center staff. They also serve as an important opportunity for local youth to feel “at home” on a college campus.

Dubbed “Puddle Arts,” the event was intended to happen around the Puddle (a.k.a. Lake Andrews) on the Bates campus. However, when a steady rain necessitated a shift in location to the library arcade and tent, “puddle arts” took on a new connotation. Happily, the rain did not spoil the fun.

The first annual Puddle Arts was dreamt up and meticulously planned by the Harward Center’s Community Outreach Fellow for Art Programming, Katherine Faulkner, a senior from Rhode Island. With much excitement and energy, Bates student groups and volunteers hosted numerous art activities and stations. Children had the opportunity to get creative with everything from puppet making to painting, clay making and drawing, placemat weaving, and even frisbee throwing! Crowd favorites included face painting, balloon animals made by the Bates juggling team, and puppet making hosted by students taking the course, “Puppets: Theory, Practice, and Play” taught by professor Cheryl Stephenson. Four of the Bates a cappella groups – the Merimanders, the Deansmen, TakeNote, and the ManOps – were also on hand to provide fun and lively music.

We are grateful for the many student volunteers who made this event possible, and we extend sincere appreciation to our partners at AK Health and Social Services, the Boys & Girls Club, the PAL Center, the Root Cellar, and Tree Street Youth, who kindly arranged supervision and transportation for their students. It is only through this kind of collaboration that events like Puddle Arts can be so successful. As we all experienced, a little rain couldn’t dampen our spirits!