Creative Solutions Engage More than Just Artists


Dark clouds tried to dampen spirits during the 45th annual Starving Artists’ Show this past Sunday; however, the motivation for affordable, quality art helped attendees and directors of the event stay enthusiastic to support Mount Mary University.

The proceeds of the event, coordinated by the Mount Mary University Alumnae Association, go towards the Alumnae Scholarship Endowment and various campus projects.

Megan Mattson, an active member of the Alumnae Association as the young alum, found this year especially integral to the Mount Mary community.

“This year is our 45th anniversary which is… in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the university. The show just seems really fresh this year,” Mattson said.

Sarah Olejniczak, assistant director of Alumnae and Parent Engagement, was excited for the potential of the Starving Artists’ Show.

“We think one of the strongest connections to the creative campus initiative is the fact that, 45 years ago, our alumnae saw a need for the Mount Mary community,” Olejniczak said.

During the past 45 years, the Alumnae Association has raised more than $1 million for student benefits.

The Alumnae Association has contributed to the athletic department’s new public address system, the poster printer for the student affairs department and the new student welcome gifts.

Sue Nieberle, senior director of Alumnae and Parent Engagement, believes the presence of the Starving Artists’ Show is an important element in Milwaukee’s community.

“People come to it every year and for some, it’s their only exposure to our university. It’s such a good show that if they only know Mount Mary for the show, that’s a good thing,” Nieberle said.

People come to Mount Mary for the opportunity to not only buy high-quality art, but also to support local artists, a creative way that serves the Alumnae Association’s goal. Alums add to the Mount Mary community by volunteering their time to run the events coordinated throughout the year.

Photo by MADELENE BIRENBAUMCommunity members, students, and faculty helped support local artists.

Community members, students, and faculty helped support local artists.

“There are lots of ways to get involved, the Starving Artists Show is definitely our biggest one,” Mattson said.

Neiberle also links the sense of community that the Starving Artists’ Show brings with rewards about being a part of the Alumnae Association.

“Watching these 30 women that are all alums work together in changing, evolving, thinking and rethinking how the show can be better than the year before, [that] takes a lot of creativity,” Nieberle said.

Mount Mary’s “creative campus initiative” and other strategic initiatives displayed on the university’s new website encourage alumnae to stay connected.

“When you graduate, this is your connection back to campus. Let us be part of your lives, and we can help you with career tools. We also can help you forge new friendships with other alums,” Nieberle said.

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