Three EKU professors were selected for a unique art residency opportunity with Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. The Richmond residents were juried in and will select items from Goodwill Stores to create art, which will be exhibited and sold at a fundraiser in November.


CNHI Kentucky's Heart of the Bluegrass series.

Goodwill held a statewide open call for artists earlier this year for The Art of Goodwill Residency Program, which provides selected Kentucky artists the opportunity to transform items donated to Goodwill into works of art.

"Through this residency program, artists are tasked with giving previously-loved items a second life," said Amy Luttrell, President & CEO for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. "Similarly, Goodwill serves people who want a chance to prove they are valuable and have something meaningful to contribute."

Out of 40 applicants, 10 artists were selected through a competitive, juried process for the residency program, including Benjamin Cirgin, Shannon McCarthy and Melissa Vandenberg. All three artists are professors at EKU's Department of Art and Design.

They will have access to Goodwill's 65 stores to collect materials for creating art. The artists receive a stipend from program sponsors.

Additionally, the residency program taps into the creativity of Kentucky artists to inspire people to reflect upon their consumption habits and the power of transformation. Each year, Goodwill repurposes or recycles 50 million pounds of used goods.

Benjamin Cirgin, the Ceramics Area Head and Assistant Professor of Ceramics, is one of the selected artists.

"The residency will provide a new source of research for my artwork, as I have a deep respect for the types of objects people choose and discard in their lives," he said.

Cirgin earned his BFA in fine art from Indiana University Bloomington and his MFA in studio art from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He's had several exhibitions in the field and co-founded the artist collective One + One + Two in San Francisco. His artwork is featured on

Shannon McCarthy, an assistant professor of graphic design, earned her BFA in applied media art from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her MFA in visual communications from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She's served as Creator for NO AWAY, an awareness campaign about plastic consumption, working with youths and individuals across the nation. Her artwork can be viewed at

"I am honored and excited to be a part of The Art of the Goodwill and to help show Kentucky how design and up-cycling can work together to create a new perspective," she said.

Melissa Vandenberg, an associate professor, is a multidisciplinary artist who has exhibited worldwide. She employs commonplace materials like textiles, quilts, matches and wood in her art. She received a BFA from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. Her work can be seen at

"The Goodwill model is the epitome of sustainability, not only environmentally, but financially. At a time when more and more Americans recognize the obstacles created by debt and overabundance, the Goodwill mission becomes ever more crucial," she said. "As an artist interested in community engagement and social practice, I share these values."

The Art of Goodwill program culminates with an art exhibition and event on Nov. 16 at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Last year's inaugural event drew 300 attendees and raised over $60,000 to support Goodwill's mission. Twenty-eight works of art were sold, ranging from $30 to $900. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit

Last year, Goodwill placed Kentuckians who have disabilities or other challenges into more than 2,700 jobs across the state. The programs are funded through a combination of grants, corporate and individual giving, and its retail stores, which sell donated clothing and household items.

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