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Woman's Club scholarships reward talented artists

Feb. 24, 2010

There is no secret password to enter the clubhouse.

I just walked right in to the Elm Grove Woman's Club's clubhouse at 13885 Watertown Plank Road, where I was met by Gaylene Townsley, the chairwoman of this year's Art Scholarship competition.

"It's become a pretty well-known art scholarship competition in the area," Townsley said. "The last few years, I've had people calling asking when it's going to be."

Now in its 41st year, the competition gives students who attend or live in the Elmbrook School District the opportunity to receive a $1,000 scholarship for college or a $250 art grant. Students do not have to major in art to be awarded the scholarship.

"A lot of schools are cutting back on their fine arts programs," she said. "I think this is a way for us to give back to the community and show that we feel strongly about the fine arts and that it's important for our students."

Showing off creativity

Each student submits three pieces in any medium, and, Townsley said, the entries have run the gamut of media from pencil, oils and acrylics to metal sculptures and jewelry.

"It's nice to see how well-rounded these kids are in the art education they are getting," she added.

Students will register and drop off their artwork March 9. On March 10, all the artwork will be judged by three community members with an arts background. The judges are different every year, Townsley said.

During a reception and art show March 11, the recipients of two $1,000 scholarships and the one $250 art grant will be announcement.

The students who are awarded the funds are invited to the club's April luncheon of so the women can meet the young artists and their families.

"It's unfortunate we can't give out more money because there is a lot of talent," Townsley said.

Supporting the village

The Art Scholarship competition is just one of the many things the Woman's Club does each year to support Elm Grove and the surrounding area.

"We all do have this desire to help make Elm Grove a better place to live," club President Janet Hauser said.

Throughout the club's 70-year history, the women have supported copious causes, including the village's library, park and emergency services, local schools and hospitals, literacy, and women's services, to name just a few. In addition, their clubhouse serves as a gathering place within the village.

This year's Chandelier Ball, an annual club fundraiser, raised $6,000 for a new defibrillator for the village, and in the past the club also has purchased a new ambulance, Hauser said.

"We just do what we can for the village, and we have fun doing it," she added.

The club's impact reaches further yet. The Junior Guild grew out of the club, and in turn the Friends of Elm Grove Library grew out of the Junior Guild.

But for this reporter, perhaps the thing I appreciate most is the work these women do on the Elm Grove Directory, published every other year. It definitely made getting to know the village an easier, quicker process for me when I started my tenure here.

Get in the Action

Find your muse: Any 12th-grader living or attending school in the Elmbrook School District may submit three pieces of artwork in any medium for the chance to win one of two $1,000 college scholarships. Students in grades 9 to 11 can submit three pieces for a chance at a $250 art grant. All submissions must be brought the Elm Grove Woman's Club clubhouse, 13885 Watertown Plank Road, between 5 and 7 p.m. March 9.

Room with a view: Explore the student artwork during a reception and show from 7 to 8 p.m. March 11 at the clubhouse. The recipients of the scholarships and grant will be announced at 7:30 p.m.

Be a joiner: For information on the woman's club or other events it is hosting this year, visit egwc.org or call the clubhouse at (262) 782-5930.

Julie Ann Marra is uncovering the heart of Elm Grove, its people and places. Call her at (262) 446-6634 or e-mail jmarra@cninow.com.

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