Students’ Art Book Feeds North Texas

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In 2012, three sophomore Hockaday students ignited their passion for the North Texas Food Bank. After a day of volunteering, they left the Bank inspired and knew they wanted to do something to help. By sophomore year they figured out how. Little did they know they would feed hungry North Texans not with food, but with their artwork.

After a year of joined effort, on Dec. 20, 2015, juniors Brenda Lee, Lauren Hoang and Wendy Ho released their worldwide, collaborative art book called “Places.”

Hoang knew this was the charity she and her colleagues wanted to be involved with because “the North Texas Food Bank passionately pursues a hunger-free community and they strive to be the best nonprofit, while providing access to nearly 175,000 nutritious meals every day.”

The girls thoughtfully chose to keep the project from the food bank until they make enough to give a significant donation.

“We have not contacted the food bank; however, we would like it to be a surprise to them once we sell out of the books we have right now,” Ho said.

After contacting commissioned artists through DeviantArt, the trio brought together 65 illustrators from 17 different countries. Lee and Ho were among these 65.

“I was amazed to see how many of our favorite artists were willing to help,” Ho said. “If you just reach out you will be surprised to see how many respond to the cause.”

To compose the deep blue, notebook-sized soft-cover book, each of the 65 artists made drawings of landscapes or landmarks with the letters NTFB featured.

Although they had many artists contribute to the final product, Lee, Hoang and Ho designed and published the book on their own.

“We worked on weekends and texted about it for about a year gradually, but at some points we had to work hard to meet a deadline,” Lee said.

Throughout the creation of the book, they have sold incomplete pre-orders in order to fund their work since May of 2015.

To gain publicity, the trio has resorted to social media, specifically Tumblr, an online blogging platform, Storenvy and DeviantArt. One of their advertising techniques involved hosting giveaways on these social media platforms. In these giveaways they had people share their link for a chance to win a copy of the book along with postcards and bookmarks.

Kel Ho, an artist from Singapore featured in “Places,” said that art can make a difference in other ways as well.

“Other than raising money for charity, I think art is great for education and information,” she said. “[It] opens up people to new ideas.”

Currently, “Places” has sold 30 copies and has made $700 in profit, the equivalent of 2,100 meals.

The book, which sells for $30, can be ordered through their web site, places.storenvy.com/products. A digital version is also available for $12.

“This project showed me that if you are passionate about something, there is nothing stopping you from doing it,” Hoang said.

“You just need to go out and ask for help and the help will come.”

– Emily Fuller – Video Editor –