The Western Illinois Department of Art and Design held their first “First Wednesday” community art event of the semester on Wednesday.
The multifaceted and interactive event was from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and was spread out across Garwood Hall, the Heating Plant Annex and the University Art Gallery. Admission was free and open not only to staff and students of Western, but the surrounding community as a whole and to all ages.
The activities in Garwood included printmaking, silkscreened valentines, charcoal drawing, keychain making, painting and a cartoon caption contest.
In the painting room, was senior Becca Maccanelli. Maccanelli is an art major and has been to and assisted with countless First Wednesdays. Maccanelli said that the thing that got her involved with the event that she most enjoyed was “exposing new people to new mediums.” Fellow senior art major and First Wednesday veteran Andi added that the event was a great way to get service hours for departmental scholarships while bringing in members of the community and students from different majors to try their hands at art.
At the charcoal drawing activity station where participants had a table of objects to draw inspiration from for a charcoal drawing was sophomore Alyssa Suther. Suther is a graphic design major and has participated in First Wednesday a total of 11 times. Suther said that she got involved with First Wednesday because of her interest in art and the opportunity for service hours. She voiced that the event is an “extra opportunity to get involved in art and campus life” for students and members of the community. She also mentioned enjoying seeing returning participants who had so much fun at the last event that they came back for more.
On my way out of Garwood, Vanessa Coleman was holding down her station in the Silkscreened Valentines Room. There, she showed participants how to make a print. Dye was applied to a surface acting as a colorful clue onto which glitter is dumped forming shapes and letters. Having attended and assisted with many First Wednesdays, Coleman discussed how nice it was to bring in the school community but also the Macomb community to “get outside of their comfort zones and try something new.” Coleman said that she enjoys seeing people’s reactions when trying the new things they experience at a First Wednesday event. She encourages as many people as possible to get involved. She also said that even those with no art background or experience should try it out as they might discover a new interest.
The event was full of people from various groups around campus and the community. Students, children and people of all ages were in attendance enjoying their time.
In addition to the activities at Garwood, there were events at the Heating Plant Annex. There were pressed copper valentines, building castles with clay and soap carving. The events at the Annex and Garwood Hall were complimented by extended hours at the University Art Gallery. The event also had materials and funds donated by Blick Art Materials and the Performing Arts Society.