In 2016, I was fortunate to take part in the Barns on Main art project with my mom. Together we created a mosaic barn that, alongside 14 others, was displayed in downtown Waunakee for the summer. Creating that barn was a wonderful chance for my mom and I to spend time together, challenge our creativity, and meet other community members. Public art projects like this are one of the many reasons I love being part of the Waunakee community.

Throughout my education in the Waunakee School District, I was consistently given opportunities to learn about the world and my role in it through creative ways. I took art, band and foreign language classes and competed in creative problem solving with the organization Future Problem Solvers. Part of my high school education was spent at Conserve School, an environmental boarding school. Experiential learning was a big component of my education there and it fostered my curiosity for the world around me. Our creative and hands-on classes were fundamental in forming the community I found there.

In college, I continued taking art and writing classes and found new passions in video production and storytelling. Through all of these experiences, I have developed a deep appreciation for the way creative expression brings us together as people.

I feel so fortunate to live in Waunakee, a village that shares this appreciation for creativity. Our community prioritizes these opportunities and has benefited from the way they connect us. We have an excellent school district that allows students to find ways to express themselves through visual and performing arts, innovative classes and lessons, and hands-on student organizations.

Our support for art is seen in programs like this summer’s Mutts on Main, the Creative Wall at the Hall, Imagination Celebration, and the mural on Main Street. We can experience live music together at the Waunakee Community band performances, Live from the Park concert series, and numerous other community festivals and venues. The Village’s Creative Economy Initiative highlights Waunakee as a home for creative and innovative businesses.

Waunakee offers professionals a place to share their talents through things like interior design, craft brewing, and music education. We are home to opportunities for expression at beauty salons, dance studios, and craft and gift stores. We have businesses based on creativity through manufacturing, landscaping, marketing, and printing. Our community is able to fulfill all the various needs of Waunakee residents and attract visitors as a destination for unique, creative experiences.

Whether it’s a homemade candle or pint of craft beer, I encourage Waunakee residents to embrace the creativity our village has to offer. Stay tuned as the Village rolls out the newly branded “Create Waunakee” initiative. It will be a way to engage in Waunakee like never before. Our community is stronger when we take time to share in each other’s talents.

In a world that so often divides, these experiences bring us together. They remind us of our similarities and let us celebrate our differences. We learn more about ourselves and our neighbors with creative self-expression. Together we can honor Waunakee’s past, appreciate its present, and create its future.

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