Determined to Help

Faculty, Students, and Staff Making a Difference_

In the midst of crisis, the University of Arkansas, School of Art, and other colleges and schools across campus are celebrating the positive and how faculty, students, and staff are stepping up to make a difference.

Below you will find stories about how individuals within the School of Art are using their talents to help the community and those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. To learn more about how others around campus are helping visit

3-D Printed Face ShieldVincent Edwards began researching how 3-D printing could assist in helping the shortage of personal protective gear when COVID-19 began spreading rapidly through Europe. When the pandemic reached the states, he did more targeted research and settled on the face shield mask as the most practical item to produce.

Edwards is a School of Art instructor and runs the 3-D printing lab located in the Sculpture Building off Hill Avenue in Fayetteville. In partnership with the School of Art, Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Arkansas, Edwards has begun printing face shield masks to support healthcare workers in Arkansas.

He downloaded design files from Prusa Research and tuned them to print on Ultimaker printers. The design takes approximately 20 hours to print, and printers in the lab allow him to produce 12 face shield components every 24 hours.

The largest road block for mass production are materials, specifically polyethylene terephthalate glycol known as PETG. Face shields require .02" PETG to meet the healthcare standard. Edwards shares that due to high demand this material is back ordered and finding other resources are proving to be a challenge.

Edwards is collaborating with Emily Baker, assistant professor of architecture with Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, and James Coleman at Zahner metals in Kansas City on a design that can be die cut from another material that will enable more to be manufactured. He has created a prototype with the proposed substitution which has been approved by a network of local Northwest Arkansas healthcare professionals. 

Now that Edwards has the approval of healthcare professionals, he has placed an order for materials that will arrive next week. Once the materials are received, Edwards will begin printing masks. He is projecting to print approximately 100 masks a day. The masks will be distributed to EMT's, police department, and healthcare workers throughout the state.

The School of Art will be following and sharing updates to this project as new developments unfold. Follow @uarkart on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more.


Shelby Fleming MasksMaster of Fine Arts student Shelby Fleming has spent most of the academic year focused on her thesis exhibition, "Gut Feeling." But as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded and her exhibition delayed, her priorities shifted to a new normal.

Joining a group of more than 83 artists, Fleming is part of the COVID-19 Mask Maker Challenge hosted by Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum. Fleming has made 30 pocket filter masks that will be used by healthcare workers and plans to make more.

Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum partnered with professional healthcare workers to create the pattern ensuring the masks that are created will meet healthcare safety standards. The organization is providing fabric, instructions on how to make the masks and has drop off locations in Rogers and Springdale.

A graduate student in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, School of Art, Fleming’s Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition, titled “Gut Feeling,” was set to open March 30. However, the transition to online classes and postponement of all on-campus events this semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak postponed her exhibition until summer 2020.

“It feels surreal,” Fleming said. “You do years’ worth of planning to put together an exhibition and you try to speculate what could go wrong and how you can resolve certain situations. Like many other artists in my position I never imagined my exhibition would be postponed due to a pandemic.”

In the midst of making masks, Fleming shared that she couldn’t help but see how the current situation coincides with her current body of work in an unexpected way. Her MFA thesis exhibition, “Gut Feeling,” is about the viewer’s experience with their body. The forms in space reference the body while the physical curates space of the gallery.

When the exhibition opens she hopes the audience will consider their own body in relation to what is being seen through scale, sculptural placement and sensory experience.

With the new development of social distancing being added to everyone’s lives she sees a new layer of context to the exhibition as everyone across the world is taking time to reflect on the string that connects us despite our differences and our bodies.

Fleming has made 30 pocket filter masks that will be used by Arkansas healthcare workers. She plans to make more, and has inspired many to join the challenge. 

See Fleming's story come to life on the local NBC KNWA station.


Quarantine ZinesMFA student Madison Svendgard started the social media platform Quarantine Zines to create a place for people to share their work during a time when art shows have been canceled. She has been successful in her mission, but the platform has become even more than that, it is a place of community.

Her hope is to help create motivation for people to make something she could post for discussion or to simply take their mind off current events. She creates 'prompts' for her audience, encouraging the creation of works around a specific topic. "How to Distract Yourself" was fittingly the first prompt.  

Svendgard's efforts have been appreciated and well received, including Esther Zuckerman a writer from the online platform Thrillist. Follow along this zine journey @quarantinezines on Instagram



Crust Bucket Collective"Crust Bucket Collective," created by the MFA artist team, Juliette Walker and Maryalice Carroll, celebrates the crusty aesthetics of the everyday through publications, exhibitions, happenings, and events. They describe themselves as artists curating artists, searching for spaces overlooked and the spaces in-between.

The duo shares that during this pandemic time, collaboration and staying connected is critical. To keep spirits up and students connected they have started a weekly virtual "Crust Bucket Breakfast Club," open to anyone from anywhere every Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. 

Follow @crustbucketcollective on Instagram to learn more.



Feed the HeardLeverett Lounge, a favorite local Fayetteville restaurant, has temporarily closed to the general public as a result of the current COVID-19 crisis. While they began to settle into this new normal, they decided to start feeding their employees to-go meals twice a week. That has quickly turned into feeding 100 unemployed people frm bars and restaurants in Fayetteville. 

Anna Jacobs, instructor in the School of Art Graphic Design area, has become involved with this project providing design and web design services. She assisted in setting up the website to receive donations so this can be a reoccurring event. To donate or learn more about the program go to

Illustration image by Big-Bot Design.