Willimantic, Conn. – Four digital art students from Eastern Connecticut State University designed a permanent exhibit at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp—Paul Newman’s famed camp for children with serious illnesses. The project, which began in the spring semester and launched this past June, visually documents the history of the Ashford camp.
Led by Digital Art and Design Professor Terry Lennox, students Daniel Bell ’16, Kyle Dennis ’16, Austin Musson ’15 and Justin McCabe ’16 designed the gallery-style exhibit, located within the camp’s newly renovated Archives Building. It features many photographs with quotes by Newman, as well as seven panels containing descriptive and visual timelines, laid out according to the camp’s trademark childlike, western theme.
“Thanks to Eastern’s incredibly creative students, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s dusty archives were transformed into a powerful, permanent exhibit of the camp’s unique history,” said the camp’s CEO James Canton. “It beautifully incorporates Hole in the Wall’s most iconic photos in a way that effectively showcases the evolution of our programs. Now, visitors will be able to better understand our ‘hole’ story and what our founder Paul Newman described as ‘a different kind of healing.’”
Through the exhibit, visitors can now take 20-minute, self-guided tours through the camp’s history, dating back to its 1988 opening. “Helping to create this beautiful archive for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was one of the most exciting projects I have done in my life,” said Musson. “Seeing the final outcome gave me a surreal feeling when I realized that I had accomplished something important. I had so much fun and learned so much creating this exhibit!”
As with several area agencies and organizations, Eastern has a strong working relationship with The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. The archives exhibit is the third project completed by Lennox’s digital art students, preceded by projects for the camp’s 20th- and 25th-year anniversaries. “I’m a real advocate for community-based projects,” said Lennox. “I find that when the stakes are high with real-life implications, students step up to the plate and learning is accelerated.”
Programs of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp are offered free of charge and the year-round organization serves more than 25,000 seriously ill children and families annually. A highlight is the camp’s summer sessions, which include a life-changing week of fun and friendship for campers.
“Working on this project has broadened my knowledge not only of design, but also of the wonderful place that is The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp,” said McCabe. “Being able to work with a team of students with the same desire to create something amazing was quite the experience. Seeing the final result was the ultimate reward and I will cherish this opportunity at Eastern to design for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.”