Summer 2024
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‘Hope Dealers’

A group of George Fox students use their vocational skills in graphic design, illustration and art to serve in Philadelphia By Sean Patterson and Hunter Bomar

Standing like a jewel amidst the rubble of the Kensington area of Pennsylvania’s largest city, the Philadelphia Dream Center has become a beacon of hope for the hopeless – the addicts, the homeless, the hungry and the trafficked.

The formerly abandoned Catholic church – complete with vaulted ceilings and ornate stained-glass windows – has been transformed into a place of restoration, healing and soul care. Through its many-faceted outreaches, including an after-school program, a food truck ministry, a nondenominational church and a human trafficking support group, the center is, as founder David Dominguez describes it, “a place where God-given dreams are awakened in the birthplace of America.”

It was into this setting that a group of George Fox graphic designers, illustrators and studio artists from the School of Communication and Design traveled this spring for a weeklong “SpiL Trip” – pilgrimages dedicated to immersing students in the contexts of others to learn and serve alongside ministry partners. Unlike previous trips, however, this marked the first time students applied the vocational skills learned in their specific major to a service project.

Among the projects tackled were graphic design services for the center’s website and print collateral, and fine art illustration work.

For graphic design major Adrienne Pena, it was an opportunity to tangibly live out the university’s Be Known promise.

“We have that promise – Be Known – and we are here saying, ‘We want this center to be known in the city of Philadelphia,’” she says. “We want people to know this place is here for them. We’re here helping them be light to this community – to be a hope to them.”

Or, in the words of Rus St. Cyr, university pastor for service and soul care, they are there to be “hope dealers.”

Marvin Eans and Rus St. Cyr

Assistant Professor of Art and Design Marvin Eans and University Pastor for Service and Soul Care Rus St. Cyr, who co-led the team of seven graphic designers, illustrators and studio artists, review design elements for the Philadelphia Dream Center.

Keyan Parker reading his Bible

Junior Keyan Parker reads his Bible in the abandoned sanctuary of a Catholic church that now serves as the home of the Philadelphia Dream Center.

Adrienne Pena looking out over the city of Philadelphia from the bell tower atop the church

Senior Adrienne Pena looks out over the city of Philadelphia from the bell tower atop the church.

Team meeting

The team meets in the basement of the church to discuss their plans for the day. “Branding is a critical part of visual communication for an organization because it helps build trust,” Eans says. “So we’re building and establishing a strong foundation and messaging.”

Breanna Newburn taking notes

Freshman Breanna Newburn takes notes on messaging for the center’s exterior signage.

Student making signs on a piece of paper Dream City Church signage A small mural painting on the overhead door "Drug Free" signage on a power pole

“My hope is that the trip did something special in each student’s heart,” Eans says. “I don’t know what that will look like, but I just hope that they made that connection between their relationship with God and their gifts to see how they can impact others.”

Watch video: What To Do with an Art Degree: Philadelphia Service Trip
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Summer 2024 Journal Cover

Cover of Summer 2024 issue

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