Empathy + Impact

Empathy + Impact


Apr 27th, 2017

ThumbPrint from Columbus Idea Foundry on Vimeo.

Kelsey Joseph found her way to the Idea Foundry through a maker date night. One night filled with maker projects and a romantic dinner led her to a full time membership and a whole support team to bring her art to life. Her project is proof that one person, one project, one experience can make an impact.  

Joseph’s MFA thesis project, 'Empathy + Impact',  features the stories of 24 individuals from Columbus, Ohio who were moved in a moment of empathy to take action and make an impact in the community. The stories range from everyday acts of kindness to the story behind Mercy For Animals, an international non-profit founded by Nathen Runkle, dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals and promoting mindful policies. 

Joseph’s own moment of empathy that sparked the momentum for this project was her wish to empower people. “This piece stemmed out of my own empathetic feelings and what I do to turn those into an impact so that I am making positive change in the world. My frustrations were with people saying ‘well one person can’t make a difference,' or 'I don’t know how to help,' so they turn away or do nothing at all instead of helping. I really wanted this to show that all of the people in this project are just like the rest of us, so that people can relate to them, ” said Joseph.

The installation is towering and spans the entire length of the Beeler gallery wall. Standing next to 3ft fingerprints laser cut into clear acrylic, you can see every detail of identity. Joseph’s art communicates her message of empathy and impact through subtly encouraging you to identify with the these stories visually before bringing you into the details of each experience. The semi reflective quality of the acrylic not only lets you see into each print but also to see yourself in it. Each print is paired with a story that’s artfully told in a hard bound book you can read through. The details wrap readers up in inspiring stories and encourage them to embrace their own empathy.

“In a world where there are many social issues and situations about which to feel bad, it is important for us to know that, by small and large contributions alike, we can create a more empathetic culture that is equipped to move forward and make positive change. 'Empathy + Impact'  highlights individuals in the Columbus community to show the moment in which they felt empathy towards an issue and decided to act upon it, in hopes that it will inspire others to do the same.” - Kelsey Joseph

The Installation is at the Beeler gallery through Sunday April 30th. Beeler Gallery is located on the first floor of the Canzani Center, on the southeast corner of Cleveland Avenue & Gay Street.

60 Cleveland Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215