WAA promotes cultural and artistic diversity

Hannah Maes, Arts and Rec Editor

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The Cultural Arts Center (CAC) is an important part of the art community in Whitewater, as they promote cultural diversity and host a variety of creative events.

The CAC is the historical building located at 402 West Main Street where many art exhibits and workshops take place. However, this hub of cultural diversification could not be possible without the organization behind it that funds all of its events, the Whitewater Arts Alliance (WAA).

The most recent event hosted by WAA was the 10th Anniversary BASH held on Sept 30 which featured an art auction, where all proceeds went back to the CAC to continue to bring world renowned artists to the Whitewater community and support local artists.

Margie Stoneman, a coordinator for the Whitewater Arts Alliance, explains that WAA is a very community focused organization when it comes to volunteering and encouraging local art and organizations.

“First, the Whitewater Arts Alliance (WAA)  is a volunteer-driven group and, with the help of the entire community, from the university (students and staff) to local businesses, to schools,” Stoneman said.

This organization hasn’t always been part of Whitewater, in fact it wasn’t until a local artistic crisis that the community recognized a need for this organization.

One of Whitewater’s most famous, and historical, local artist is Caryl Yasko painted the Prairie Tillers Mural in 1980. The need to restore this visual representation of Whitewater’s history in 2004 made it clear that Whitewater needed an organization to protect and restore art.

Former President of the WAA Roni Telfer told the Daily Union in 2009 that the need for this organization stemmed from this one project.

“Five years ago, this did give us the impetus for the Arts Alliance,” she said.

“I think it got started as an individual project simply to give rebirth to the mural. But once people saw the support of the community, it sort of fed on itself and many of the people who worked on it said this can’t die, this can’t go away. And that is what led to Art Alliance, our bylaws, and our nonprofit organization. I do not think at the time it was seen as something that would branch off into lots of other things, but it definitely has.”

Now, the CAC is a staple of Whitewater that is responsible for bringing creativity and artistic collaboration not only to campus life, but our community as a whole.

“The WAA works closely with the UW-W on a variety of events and plans,” Stoneman said.

“UW-W Members of the board, volunteers and students have  participated at the CAC and have volunteered or exhibited their art.  The partnership with UW-W is a strong and welcome one, and will continue to grow and flourish.”