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In 1975, Bob Zimmerman traveled to the Dominican Republic to participate in a medical mission. Forty-eight years later, his daughter, Lynn Estomin, professor emerita of art at Lycoming College, traveled to the Dominican Republic with Lycoming faculty Caroline Payne, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, and Rachel Hickoff-Cresko, Ed.D., associate professor of education, to document the work Lycoming College students and faculty are doing in the Dominican Republic. The Lycoming College Art Gallery will feature photographs and video by Estomin and her father Aug. 18-Sept. 16.
Payne founded the Warrior Coffee project with the coffee farming community of El Naranjito in the Dominican Republic in 2013, helping the people in the El Naranjito region improve their farming practices by working together to combat the effects of the Roya fungus that devastates coffee trees, to diversify the shade canopy over the trees, and to employ other growing, harvesting, and processing methods needed to produce specialty grade coffee. The beans are imported and roasted locally at Alabaster Coffee Roaster and Tea company. The program has evolved to integrate other Lycoming College departments: Chemistry students travel to El Naranjito with chemistry professor Jeremy Ramsey, Ph.D., to help improve the communities’ access to clean water and to analyze the chemical composition of green coffee. Education students pursuing teacher certification visit schools in the Dominican Republic to collaborate on teaching methods. Political Science students work on expanding access to global coffee markets and with a Lycoming-supported local entrepreneur to provide access to affordable solar technology, which brings power to the remote coffee growers' homes.
The trip this year was a faculty trip, working with the coffee growers to apply for major grant to upgrade their production equipment, meeting with principals and teachers to discuss a project to provide schools with mini libraries, and an exciting new project to provide micro-grants to a newly formed group of women entrepreneurs in the mountain coffee growing region.
A reception will be held Friday, Sept. 15, from 4-9 p.m., with a gallery talk by Estomin and Payne at 5:30 p.m., featuring ways that the community can be involved, and a coffee tasting by Alabaster. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 4-8 p.m.
The Lycoming College Art Gallery, located in downtown Williamsport at 25 W. Fourth St., contributes to the city’s arts culture and allows the College to become more involved with the surrounding community. Lycoming art students have the opportunity to interact with visiting artists and learn first-hand the inner workings of an art gallery. More information is available at https://www.lycoming.edu/art/gallery/23-24.aspx.