A plain white t-shirt was all it took for Emory & Henry freshman Ashley Helbert to combine her passion for art with the environment. The Marion, Va. native worked this past fall with the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable (UTRR) to design a t-shirt for the Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful campaign.
Helbert was originally searching for a project to do as part of her requirements for the Bonners Scholars program at the college, when E&H Professor Dr. Ed Davis discovered that UTRR was in need of a design to put on the back of their new t-shirt to be handed out to volunteers for a region wide stream cleanup campaign.
Carol Doss, Director of the UTRR, informed Helbert that she would have one color of ink to work with for the design. The E&H art major readily accepted this challenge.
“My first idea was to take a handful of Virginia’s native aquatic animals, and work out a design with them in it,” said Helbert. “After all, the river cleanup effort was to help out the wildlife. I told Carol about my idea, and she told me to go for it.”
The final design featured fish, frogs, birds, lizards and other aquatic creatures in a circle surrounded by the phrase, “Critters Don’t Need Litter” all in blue. Helbert says she is excited to see something she drew on a t-shirt.
“They sent me one of the shirts to keep, and I get to have a story about it, so that is all I needed!”
Helbert is planning on double majoring at E&H in studio art and creative writing.
After graduating in 2014 she hopes to open her own studio and work out of it.
She simple says, “I’m not exactly sure what kind of work I’ll be doing, but as long as I’m making art I’ll be fine.”