Art for a Cause: Wildwood Students Give Back
For generations, artists have used their talents to tell stories and convey messages through their work.
While artists like to be paid for their work, there are times when they put their personal commitment to a cause ahead of any need for payment. For St. Louis Community College-Wildwood students Nancy Lipari and Michelle Streiff, that’s the driving force behind their recent community art engagements.
This semester, Lipari and Streiff volunteered their time to support organizations in need through art. Together, their efforts are helping not only to beautify public spaces, but also raise awareness and revenue for causes close to their hearts.
With regard to Lipari’s works, she created art for Our Lady's Inn, a local pro-life organization that provides shelter and support for pregnant women and their children. While the organization has a number of locations across the area, her first project was based at its shelter in Defiance, Mo.
“When I learned there was a need for artwork in the children’s playroom, I jumped at the chance to get involved,” she said. “I chose to create a tree of life in the playroom because I felt it was symbolic of their journey. Seeing the tree get filled with handprints of the women and children served by the Inn truly makes my heart sing. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’m proud to play a small role in supporting women and children who are caught in unfortunate circumstances.”
Like Lipari, Streiff has been involved with projects that allow her to blend her passion for art with her commitment to helping others.
While she is a long-time volunteer for Stray Rescue of St. Louis, and often features the animals in her work, she recently shared her creative talents with the organization by painting murals on the building’s headquarters in downtown St. Louis. She chose to feature the faces of a number of animals rescued by Stray Rescue in an effort to raise awareness of the important work this organization does to support animals in need.
Streiff also was among 25 local artists invited to participate in Stringbean Coffee’s Burlap Art Show this November. With this show, Streiff and the other artists painted burlap coffee bags that were collected from around the world. The bags were then sold at an event to raise money for the Café Femenino Foundation, a one-of-a-kind coffee cooperative that is committed to ending the cycle of poverty afflicting women coffee farmers across the world.
“These projects align with my interests of helping animals and empowering women,” Streiff said. “It’s an honor to share my love of art with others while supporting two causes that are deeply personal to me.”
Mark Weber, gallery coordinator and art instructor, commended Lipari and Streiff on their efforts.
“Nancy and Michelle are talented artists with big hearts,” Weber said. “It’s wonderful to see them sharing their gifts with others in these unique and creative ways.”