[Student Essay] WOA Studio - Student Artists for Animal Protection
Hyeseong Choi (Grade 11) Isu Kim (Grade 11)
The after-school program in Branksome Hall Asia (BHA) consists of numerous service projects, yet we found that there are only a few regarding animal protection. With this realization, as two student animal enthusiasts of BHA, we became highly motivated to raise BHA students’ awareness of the animals with forgotten or stolen rights and determined to create an after-school club activity that will help us to realize this aspiration. Soon after that, we created WOA Studio where a group of student artists gathers to design and sell their art products related to familiar animals around us and ultimately, donate the profits to an animal support organization.
During the design process, the artists are allowed to freely sketch their own designs and the student leaders’ role in this process is to simply make small suggestions and provide technical assistance for the graphic design program (Adobe Illustrator). Still, there were some restrictions we had to place on the artwork: first of all, since we are selling the products, the types of artwork are limited to those that are approachable and familiar to the public, including badges and stickers. Then, the students choose an animal from the provided list of animals to base their designs on. We also decided to focus on only dogs and cats this year because sometimes people forget their preciousness as they are the most common pets at home, which may lead to animal abuse at the very worst.
The source of the list of animals we provide is Korean Animal Welfare Association (동물자유연대). It is a non-profit animal organization that supports and protects animal welfare through relevant online postings, signature collecting campaigns, rescue operations, funding, and animal shelter services. One category of posting it promotes on its website is a rehoming abandoned dogs and cats service, in which the profiles and stories of the rescued stray animals are included. Among these, we tried to select the ones that were the most brutally abused or are the most attractive. Some might say that it is unethical to consider the animals’ appearances at this stage but greater profits lead to a larger donation and more attractive animals are naturally more popular. Moreover, we believe that the action of making a donation itself is good-natured regardless of the customers’ reasons, pretty design for example, for buying the products.
WOA Studio has been open for 5 months now, but due to Covid-19, we have concluded that it is too challenging to go through all design, production, and marketing steps by this May, the last month for all club activities in BHA. Although it was disappointing to postpone our plans at first, we saw this as an opportunity to develop further on our ideas and items. Thus, in this academic year, we focused on designing quality goods in both aesthetic and functional aspects, obtaining 30 complete designs that are close to completion (useful daily items, target BHA students, controversial texts or images excluded, etc) as a result. The collected complete designs will turn into tangible products next year.
WOA Studio’s motto is “Nothing is more valuable than life itself”. Thus, we strive to raise the students’ awareness of the importance of all kinds of life and advocate for a world where all lives coexist in peace. We hope that the public recognizes this wish in our products and creates positive change, stepping closer to the ideal. We believe that if this project continues by the juniors in BHA even after we graduate, the BHA students’ service spirit and respect toward the animals will be handed down as well. WOA Studio will even expand on its influence if it starts treating a wider range of animals, namely the sea creatures that suffer from plastic waste and the polar bears that suffer from melting ice due to climate change. We anticipate that along with WOA Studio, the BHA Community will grow as a group of inspiring global leaders who take the lead in animal protection and maintenance.