Wriston Art Collective brings art to Appleton youth

ERL_1053By Lizzy Weekes

On Saturday, Jan. 31, from 1-4 p.m., members of the Wriston Art Collective strolled down College Avenue to The Building for Kids for a first-time volunteering opportunity. During this particular afternoon session, children and college students, along with museum staff, worked together to create cultural projects.

“We helped the children make paper lanterns and lotus blossoms, and got covered in plenty of sequins in the process,” Wriston Art Collective President Alexis Ames said.These paper crafts reflected the traditional Chinese culture of dance company “Shen Yun,” which will be performing at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center here in Appleton on March 3 and 4.

This volunteering project was a vital step for the collective. Not only did members wish to broaden the children’s cultural horizons, but also to expose theses children to art in a meaningful way.

“Art is a vital part of any child’s life, as it promotes self-expression and creative thought processes,” Ames said. With art, children can discover new ways to see the world around them. Art can color the imagination and bring about an unexpected future.

“Being recognized as an artist at a young age builds confidence and provides opportunities for unique study and play. There are infinite crossovers between art and other subjects,” Ames said. “Showing youth that these connections exist and are important can play a huge role in how they grow, how they choose to live, and future career options.”

Fostering these senses in children may lead to a brighter world. Art does not have to be applied in a strictly artistic way. The thought and expression children gain from being creative transcends any field or topic of study. Therefore, members wish to create more opportunities as time goes on.

“It is our hope to continue doing this sort of collaboration in the future, and perhaps bring our own projects to try with the kids,” Ames said.For now, members foster the imagination of peers. The collective stands as a continuation of these values, created with self-expression and creative thought in mind, as members come together to share artistic experiences.

“It was founded as a way for art majors and non-art majors to come together and practice their love of art, regardless of skill level or prior experience,” Ames said. As president, she hopes to inspire a creative spark in her peers through various projects.

“My goal is to bring interesting activities to the group each week, whether that be live-model drawing, painting, going to an art event or volunteering,” Ames said.

The collective brings out the creative in all. Art is not just an activity for kids. Even as adults, Lawrence University students can take a lot away from an artistic venture. Self-discovery can happen at any age, especially through art.