Blackwell Gives Back to Community
By Sara Owen, Managing Editor
Shelley Martin, Staff Writer
Joan Blackwell, a junior at UNCP, has her art on display at Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC). She is known nationally for her gourd painting.
Blackwell is an art education major and hopes to teach K-8 at a school in Robeson County in the future.
Before coming to UNCP she worked for the Department of State, but came home for personal reasons.
“I just had the yearning to come back home and give back to my community,” she said.
On Feb. 6, Blackwell led an hour-long class about gourd painting for two local girls.
Autumn Davis and Jayla Kegler were given the opportunity to learn about gourd painting because they missed the chance to help paint murals for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
She told them that “each gourd is different” and that each is beautiful in its own unique way like people are.
Blackwell said she is actively painting, mostly on canvas, and plans to continue with community outreach projects. She is planning to go to the National Art Education Association conference in New Orleans in March.
She will be presenting a research paper titled Innovative Ways to Teach Native American History at the conference. She said her paper focuses on incorporating art into history lessons.
Blackwell said other UNCP art students will be attending the conference and that this is the first time that UNCP has been asked to help organize the event.
Photo by Shelley Martin. Joan Blackwell, left, and Jessica Wire, center, teach Autumn Davis and Jayla Kegler about gourd art in Locklear Hall on Feb. 6.