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Alissa Rogge, local artist with Luminous Essence, arranges the jewelry she made at the Downtown Pittsburg Artwalk on Friday, April 26. Rogge does mosaic windows, handmade jewelry, cyrstals, and vintage finds. Logan Wiley

Students, community present artwork at Artwalk

Pittsburg’s biannual Artwalk took place this past weekend, featuring community and student artwork. Booths, animals, art, music, food, and community members filled Pittsburg’s downtown for the spring Artwalk. 

The Artwalk took place Friday, April 26, at which students and the community alike had the opportunity to present their various works. Booths set up through downtown, including the Southeast Kansas Humane Society, individual artists and musicians, and various pop-up retail shops.  

“I love (the) Artwalk,” said Brittan Brenner, graduate student in communication. I love things that bring people downtown and make Pittsburg a place where people want to come and stay and not just go to college or just come and shop but really make it a place that people want to be.”  

Brenner and Kailey Pearson, sophomore in graphic design, represented Sonder & Co. at the Artwalk with a pop-up shop inside Block22’s Foundry. 

“I think that it’s really fantastic as students that we put art in and I think it’s really cool that the Pittsburg community is willing to embrace students in such a ways,” Pearson said. “It’s really meaningful for us because we’re opening this store in August and it’s one of the few chances that we have to introduce ourselves to the Pittsburg community because we’re not from here, so it really means the world. It’s a dream come true in a way because this is so much bigger than Artwalk and it’s cool that Artwalk is so willing to embrace that and give us a platform.” 

Sonder & Co. plans to open inside Block22 soon and the Artwalk gave the company a feeling of what that will be like. 

… We will be opening in Block22 in August, (that’s) the plan right now,” Pearson said. “We sell locally made items, so I do all of our graphic design work, but everything in our store has been made by someone in the community and a majority of them are students, so it’s cool to give back to the students. It’s just an easy way to put some cash in some students’ pockets who makes some really fantastic products that no one knows about. The reason why we got this idea was because I was in a similar situation last year. We have an e-commerce store, so there’s ways to buy these things online for now, but we’re ready to open.” 

As current Pitt State students, both Brenner and Pearson were excited to have the opportunity to participate in this year’s Artwalk. 

“I think it’s really exciting to be able to have a space downtown as students to start out in, especially,” Brenner said. It’s just any opportunity to be able to run a business and have a university that supports you in doing that.” 

Another university-sponsored booth at the Artwalk was the Graphic Arts Club with various Pitt State merchandise for sale. 

“We just wanted to have a better chance to interact with the community and just get more people to come and see what Graphics Arts Club is all about,” said Madison Wooldridge, senior in graphic communications. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity. It gives the students who are in our club a great opportunity to network with professionals who are in the community as well as just some people that own small businesses and other members of the community.” 

Woolridge said the Artwalk was a “really great time.” Students from the Graphic Arts Club assisted Woolridge in running their booth while selling items and their student-designed work. 

“We have all student-made merchandise, including some stickers, some greeting cards, T-shirts,” Woolridge said. “We also have an interactive art install piece that members of the community can sign and tell about what home means to them and it will be (hung) up in a local business after it is done at the Artwalk.” 

Pearson, a Wichita native, said she enjoys the Artwalk because she has experienced similar events before in Wichita. 

“I love the Artwalk,” Pearson said. “I’m from Wichita, so big city we have events like this all the time, and it’s really cool to be able to come to a community and meet artists that you didn’t even know were here and see their work and see them get things done and be able to walk down the street and bee able to get some fantastic food. It’s just kind of a culturing experience, I guess you could say. I really love it, it’s a good time.” 

Brenner said she appreciates the Pittsburg community supporting local companies, like Sonder & Co., and she thinks others should also. 

“I think shopping local and supporting people in your community that are doing things is really important and so any opportunity that you have to go out in your community and support your neighbors is a great opportunity and I think everyone should take it,” Brenner said. 

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