GREEN BAY – People in Northeast Wisconsin are making a difference, just by picking up a paint brush.
Sandi Van Sistine is a local painter as well as the founder of the ARTgarage in Green Bay.
“Every single person has something in them that can make them artistic,” said Van Sistine.
The ARTgarage is a non-profit organization that focuses on the importance of the arts.
Each year, the ARTgarage asks the community to pick up a brush, and take part in an Art Meets Heart community mosaic.
This year, 300 hundred people in the Green Bay area put their artistic skills to the test — from local artists, to school children.
“You don’t have to be an artist, you don’t have to be an adult, you have to be anybody who understands that creating something of yourself is sharing something of yourself,” said Sandy Melroy, event co-chair.
Each canvas in the mosaic has a story. Some stories are told through beads, others with wires.
Fifth graders from Nicolet Elementary School spent hours creating their paintings.
“These kids gave up their recess time and they came into the art room and it gives them a chance to express themselves,” said Nicolet Elementary School art teacher, Candace Cole.
Van Sistine says art can not only bring creativity to someone’s life, but could also save it.
“We’ve worked with a lot of people who, um, maybe have different issues in their lives and they tell us and we understand that when they put something down on a canvas, their emotions, their hurts, their sickness, whatever, they lay it out for everybody to see and to get it out there. If they can’t talk about it, this is their way to do it,” said Van Sistine.
She also says showing the mosaic is about more than just showing a heart.
“Each canvas is a huge story someone wanted to tell and this gives them an opportunity to tell it.”
The mosaic will be on display at the ARTgarage through the end of February, when it will move to Austin Straubel Airport.