Students were encouraged to think outside the box through a unique art contest presented by the Allies Program Monday in the Honors Coffee Forum.
Kelly Stone, health education coordinator, said the Out of the Box art contest was designed to get people thinking about the “box”—what it means to be and act like a man or woman. Stone said violence may ensue when individuals do not act straight.
Allies broke those “boxes” apart by having participants tear apart cardboard boxes in an attempt to turn violence towards the LGBTQ community into something positive.
Daniel Bernard Gray, studio art junior, was the first place winner of the art contest with a piece titled “Common Obscured Connection.” His piece consisted of a collage containing inspirational words on a piece of cardboard. Gray said he thought the program was a great way to help people understand what the LGBTQ community goes through.
“No matter what gender, sexuality or nationality we are, we’re all the same,” Gray said.
Stone said the event raised awareness of bullying directed towards LGBTQ students.
Stone said Allies’ primary goal is to sensitize the campus culture with acceptance. The event was a way to reach out to the student body and educate them about bullying in the LGBTQ community.
“If you could take anything away from this, when you hear something or see something, please speak up and be the voice of the minority and be an ally,” Stone said. “Prevent bullying. We can all work together and change society.”
Shaun Ford, applied sociology junior, gave a presentation called “Labeled: How Society Builds Bullies.” Ford’s presentation aimed to look for solutions to bullying and get society to think about what happens to people who are unjustly labeled.
“People think these presentations should be about facts and toss out statistics at people,” Ford said. “I don’t like to do that. I like to connect people with the information, make them feel it and understand it inside out.”
Marisa Arceneaun, junior at San Marcos High School, said she learned about the Allies Program through her mom and has been working to participate in as many events as she can. Arceneaun is trying to create an Allies Program at her school and draws inspiration from events put on by the Texas State chapter.
Stone asked Arceneaun to submit a piece to the Out of the Box contest. Although she created it at last minute, Arceneaun earned an honorable mention.
“Texas State is such a diverse campus, which is why I really like it,” Arceneaun said. “I wanted to bring some of that diversity and support into my high school because they really lack it.”