THE PFISTER® HOTEL’S ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE STEPHANIE BARENZ CREATES MENTORING PROGRAM FOR LOCAL CHILDREN
Milwaukee, Wis., July 30, 2013 – Stephanie Barenz, Artist in Residence at The Pfister® Hotel, which is owned and operated by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, along with her husband Zachary Weigman, has started a mentoring program called “Our Story Arts.” The program seeks to give a group of Milwaukee children a voice through self-expression in the visual arts and creative writing.
Currently participating in the program are seven 5th to 7th graders from St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, where Weigmen is a full-time writing teacher. The students visit and attend classes with Barenz and Weigman in the Stephanie Barenz Gallery at The Pfister on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. They are divided into two groups–Junior Artists-in-Residence and Junior Narrators, modeled after The Pfister’s two arts programs.
“The mission of ‘Our Story Arts’ is to focus on the needs of the individual, to start a junior art community in Milwaukee, and to tell the story of our city’s children through creative self-expression,” said Barenz.
“My husband envisioned the program as another way to encourage his students to express their goals and dreams. Meanwhile, I had already been teaching art a few hours per month at the school, and saw the program as an opportunity to bring a new dynamic and purpose to my residency,” she added.
Over the past couple months, the students have been working on the theme of identity, and are producing work based on this concept. They have begun to develop their voice through creative writing assignments, video interviews, poetry, brush and ink calligraphy, portraiture, and gesture drawing. Some of their artwork is on display in The Pfister’s gallery. In the future, they will be working to develop their own “zines,” collections of their self-published work, with Pfister Narrator, Molly Snyder, and her husband, Royal Bravväxling, who is a writing instructor at MIAD.
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