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The Northwoods
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Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12

Art plays special role in the lives of small-town residents

Story By Lilly Zoller
Local News Published 08/01/2021 6:08PM, Last Updated 08/02/2021 12:56AM
Rhinelander - "The things that really change your life are the things you do more often," says Andrew Egan, the founder of The Intuition Collective.

For Egan and others using art as a medium to express themselves, it's more than a way to pass time.

"Art is subjective, right? So anyone can do it, you know," said artist Ali Marie Budreau.

Artists say its impact is stronger, especially in the small towns of the Northwoods where a sense of community is crucial.

"Valuing where everybody is at and celebrating that and being a safe place for creatives to gather and for all people to come in and just be equal and be valued," said Ashley McLaughlin, the program and operations director at ArtStart.

McLaughlin adds that infusing Rhinelander with art can help the city practice inclusion and inspire others to do the same.

"Everybody has to start somewhere," McLaughlin said. "Everybody needs opportunities to grow. They need to connect with each other."

McLaughlin and Egan look to plan events that promote art in the community to help focus on prioritizing mental health, allowing new and old artists help to check in with their emotional lives.

Organizers hope that art events like these give people a safe space to express themselves and bring creativity to a small town.

"Follow your dreams, man. Do it. Like, we're not here forever," said Egan.

Artists say creativity can flourish in the area beyond the traditional paint and canvas but through film, music and other community programs.

"Be excited to share who you are and what you do," said Egan.

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