UW-River Falls art students raise funds with annual scholarship sale

Posted December 7, 2016

For over 20 years, the Annual Art Scholarship Sale has provided UW-River Falls art students a chance to show off their work while raising money to benefit themselves and others.

Located in the gallery room of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building, the sale has seen a steady stream of customers since opening its doors on Nov. 28. Featuring handmade and original creations from art students of all different backgrounds as well as some faculty, the sale provides visitors with an opportunity to purchase unique items at a reasonable price, compared to art sales in the Twin Cities.

UWRF Art Department Academic Associate Susan Zimmer said the sale is a way for students to unload the large amount of artwork amassed during the semester.

“As they’re learning to get better and better, there’s only so much you can keep before you’re inventoried out, so to speak,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer said the sale usually raises around $10,000, which goes directly to students. Sixty-five percent of the proceeds are given back to individual artists to offset the costs of materials while 25 percent goes to student scholarships funds. In the past, the sale has provided $2,000 to $3,000 worth of scholarships for art students. The remaining 10 percent of the proceeds are given to the UWRF Art Society, a student organization that works to promote visual art and provide opportunities for art students. In the past, the society has used the money to travel to Chicago for a sculptural and functional art event.

Art Society Co-President Casey Beck said the sale is more than just a way for the art department to raise money.

“People outside of the department can come in and see like what we’re actually doing in here, we’re not just playing in some mud,” Beck said.

The department also sees the sale as an opportunity for students to gain real world gallery experience and learn how to place a value on their creations. Zimmer said the students see it as a morale booster during the end of the semester.

“When the students sell their work, it builds your confidence,” Zimmer said. “There is someone looking at your work and seeing value you in it enough to pay for it.”

The sale attracts students, community members and even people from the Twin Cities who enjoy student artwork and wish to support art education. According to Zimmer, the sale has been growing in popularity and some community members look forward to the sale year round. She said she receives phone calls as early as August from people who want to know the dates of the sale. Beck said the sale is a positive experience for both shoppers and artists.

“It brings joy to people to be able to use something that someone else made and it also brings joy to the maker to see someone enjoying what they made,” Beck said.

The art scholarship sale runs until Wednesday, Dec. 14. The gallery is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 2-4 p.m. on Sundays.