Waupaca Arts Board plans crafts, spelling bee, mural
By Angie Landsverk
The Waupaca Community Arts Board is finding ways to help others be creative in the midst of a pandemic.
“We’re doing a couple things in the next month,” said Marci Reynolds, the nonprofit’s president.
The board is sponsoring Craft Cafe, a Pandemic Spelling Bee and call for artists to design a mural for a downtown Waupaca building.
“I really feel the arts is a key to getting us through all this trauma,” Reynolds said.
She was referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest taking place throughout the country following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Like other organizations, the Waupaca Community Arts Board (WCAB) canceled the events it had planned for this summer, due to uncertainties about the pandemic.
This included its Summer Nights Concert series at South Park and Arts on the Square in downtown Waupaca.
Arts board members then turned their attention to new ways to engage the community creatively this summer.
People may visit www.waupacaarts.org for details about each activity.
WCAB introduced its first Craft Cafe project kit on Monday, June 1.
“Five projects are getting rolled out every two weeks. It will take us through August,” said Reynolds.
People may pick up the first and subsequent kits at the Waupaca Area Public Library via its curbside pickup program.
“They’re very hands on,” she said. “We really wanted to do something that wasn’t on the computer.”
The first kit is to make a 2D and 3D craft collage.
The others are a clay form project, community quilt squares, faux stained glass and painted pet rocks.
Reynolds said the kits are for people of all ages.
There are a limited number of kits for each project. See www.waupacaarts.org/summer-craft-cafe for that information.
She said Board member Steve Laedtke brought this idea forward.
Within 20 minutes, they had ideas for projects.
The arts board is funding the cost of the kits and wants participants to submit photos of their completed projects for an online gallery.
WCAB also plans to display projects in the windows of downtown businesses for a possible walking gallery.
That means the board wants people to save their projects.
“We’re trying really hard to pivot,” Reynolds said.
Community art projects are always part of WCAB’s summer concerts and Arts on the Square.
“This is our way of tweaking that idea,” Reynolds said.
Monday, June 1 was also the day the board opened its call for artists to design a mural for the side of the Antiques on Main building at 202 S. Main St.
“That’s our biggest thing,” Reynolds said. “We’re looking for design submissions.”
The deadline to apply is June 30.
Artists may visit www.waupacaarts.org/mural-submission-2020 for information.
The artist who is chosen to paint the mural receives a $1,000 stipend.
Reynolds said they want community members to also help paint the mural, with social distancing.
“We hope to have the mural done by Aug. 9,” she said.
A couple members of the board wanted to do a mural this summer so there would be something going on publicly, Reynolds said.
Mary Phair and Linda Kassera are leading this project.
Kassera knows the owner of Antiques on Main and contacted her about the idea.
“She was on board about doing a mural,” Reynold said.
WCAB is applying for grants associated with the cost of the mural.
“We felt like we wanted to take some resources and put them back in our community,” she said. “We want to pay the artist. We want to pay for everything.”
All supplies are being purchased locally at full price.
Food is also purchased from local restaurants on painting days to support them.
“Our theme is big, bold and beautiful,” Reynolds said of the mural design. “We’re looking for something extraordinary.”
The arts board is sponsoring the Pandemic Spelling Bee at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 on Zoom/Facebook Live.
Gail Springsteen, a retired Waupaca High School teacher, is going to the moderator for this virtual spelling bee.
Limited to 23 contestants, they must be 21 or older, Reynolds said.
That is because it is designed to be a fun event for adults that includes cocktails and consonants, she said.
Those interested in being one of 23 contestants may visit www.facebook.com/events/245790203176654 to sign up.
The idea to sponsor a virtual spelling bee is the result of Springsteen posting a comment on Facebook about the national spelling bee was canceled this year.
Reynolds said Springsteen spelled the word “canceled” incorrectly three times in her post and did so on purpose.
As Springsteen and Reynolds chatted via Facebook, the idea for the Pandemic Spelling Bee evolved.
Reynolds noted Sprinsteen has already pulled the spelling list used for the national bee.
“When people sign up, we will send them the Zoom link,” Reynolds said. “We will be broadcasting on Facebook Live. We want it to be like a party atmosphere.”
She said it will also be fun for those watching it as they will be able to comment as the bee us underway.
“It’s just something fun to take our minds off it,” Reynolds said of the pandemic.