CVCC Foundation, Inc. and Art of Compassion Present Artwork to United Way

The mural unveiling took place on Wednesday, May 15th at United Way Catawba County.


Company gathers together holding the original mural created by CVCC Visual Arts and the S.T.A.R.T. Gala participants.

HICKORY, N.C.—Last Wednesday, United Way Catawba County received a special mural from the CVCC Foundation in partnership with local community initiative “The Art of Compassion” and the CVCC Fine Arts Department.

The mural was the product of an artistic display at the CVCC Foundation S.T.A.R.T. Gala, a night of entertainment and the celebration of the Fine Arts at CVCC. “The Art of Compassion” was a lead sponsor and supporter of the Gala. Proceeds went to support the Fine Arts programs at CVCC.

Jeff Kieffer, Director of the Visual Arts program at CVCC, facilitated the design of the mural. Kieffer created the artwork’s wooden frame, organized the layout, and ensured that each piece of the “puzzle” lay in just the right place to tell its story. Gala attendees and CVCC students then took turns drawing and painting their own original designs on the artwork during the event.

Mark Bumgarner, Executive Director of United Way Catawba County, was appreciative of all parties who contributed to the mural. Bumgarner believes that the mural serves as a representation of the many parts of our County. “What’s so fitting is it’s a metaphor, a patchwork that creates this overall image, which is how we see our community and the non-profits in our community,” Bumgarner says. “It speaks to the collective whole. We want people to walk into our space and gain a greater sense of what United Way and Catawba County truly are.”

The donation of the mural was made possible by the CVCC Foundation, Inc. and “The Art of Compassion,” an initiative supported by team members Robert and Julie Lackey. The goal of “The Art of Compassion” is to inspire and promote compassion, kindness, and love for others through Education, Arts, and Entertainment.

Jennifer Jones, Executive Director for the CVCC Foundation, shared, “CVCC is a proud sponsor and supporter of the mission of ‘The Art of Compassion’ and has held several student events on campus focused on kindness and unity. This collaborative piece of artwork—created by those attending the recent S.T.A.R.T Gala event—embodies the spirit of ‘The Art of Compassion’ and is inspired by the collaborative heart of our community. We chose to donate the piece to our local United Way, as their commitment to serving with passion and purpose perfectly aligns with the heart of ‘The Art of Compassion.’”

Robert and Julie Lackey were present for Wednesday’s unveiling. Robert shared kind words about the work of United Way and the impact of CVCC, stating that both “have certainly been exemplary and invaluable in helping our mission to continue to move into their businesses and further into our community.”

“We are honored to be working with them,” said Lackey, “and are extremely grateful for all they do. The S.T.A.R.T. Gala mural, which was presented to the United Way in recognition of their ongoing work to spread compassion and kindness, was yet another great idea to help connect education and art to the many great service organizations in our community.”

“The Art of Compassion”, along with its nearly 50 community partner organizations, hopes to establish more opportunities to give back and help our area become known as the “kindest community in the nation.”

To learn more about The CVCC Foundation, Inc., or to make a donation, please contact To learn more about “The Art of Compassion” movement, please visit To learn more about United Way Catawba County, please visit

Pictured Above (L-R): Robert Lackey, Julie Lackey, Mike Bumgarner, Jennifer Jones (CVCC Foundation), Dr. Kim Stinson (CVCC), and Jeff Kieffer (CVCC) gather together during the artwork unveiling at Catawba County United Way.

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