With the circumstances of the global pandemic, Ashley for the Arts, one of Wisconsin’s largest charity events, cancelled their 2020 event. The art and music festival, which has become an annual get-together for a number of area students, parents and volunteers, is a primary fundraiser for the more than 60 participating nonprofit organizations. After reviewing various nominations for a $10,000 grant, Ashley for the Arts has awarded the Independence School District the 2020 Ashley for the Arts Community Cares Grant.
“In light of not having an event, we still wanted to make an impact in the community,” stated Cole Bawek, event director. “Ashley for the Arts is focused on supporting educational, civic and nonprofit organizations that promote the arts, music, and broadening cultural horizons within our community.”
The Ashley for the Arts Community Cares Grant was open to eligible nonprofit organizations, within a 60-mile radius of Arcadia, Wis., looking for assistance with a project that was community focused in art, music and/or cultural activities.
“This grant caught my attention right away as a chance to bring meaningful art into our community for Independence residents to enjoy, and as a reason for others to visit and enjoy our small town,” stated Dawn Woychik, counselor/curriculum director for Independence School District. “I think this year especially we need to focus on bringing light and positivity into our world, and what could be better than doing that by combining service and art while engaging our students and community?”
The awarded project entails a variety of artistic elements throughout downtown Independence. Students of Independence School District (grades 4-12) will be working with local nonprofit organizations on planning and constructing the project. The Independence Lions Club and Rainbow Community Club will assist with the creation of artwork that may include a series of murals that incorporate the history of the city and the region’s tradition of agriculture as well as a series of a sculptures, student artwork and/or benches. The project has a tentative completion of summer 2021 and will be showcased at Ashley for the Arts in Arcadia’s Memorial Park, August 12-14.
“Service is love made visible and I hope that through this service work our students will feel a refreshed love for their community and be empowered to continue to do what they can to make our world a better place,” Woychik said.