Since 2004, Students Organized For Art (S.O.F.A.) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been inviting students from all majors to participate in art projects… for fun.

“It’s no-pressure art,” said Melissa Siewart, former S.O.F.A. president and 2015 graduate. “S.O.F.A. is a laid-back organization dedicated to creatively involving everyone.”

S.O.F.A. provides opportunities for students to participate in art projects and to give back to the community through art.

“I love seeing people pumped about art,” said Siewart, who majored in fine art, 3-D with emphases in metals and ceramics. “We host a variety of activities for all skill-levels from candle making to body casting to oil painting to ceramics. I get so excited when people are shocked by what they are capable of making during one of our meetings.”

Aside from providing a welcoming environment for UWO students to participate, S.O.F.A. also brings art into the community. “Art takes such a hit from budget cuts or not having enough space for art programs that the more it gets cut, the more it feels needed,” Siewart explained.

The students have painted at the Oshkosh Area Humane Society as well as two patient rooms at ThedaCare, face painted at the
annual Oshkosh Community Dragonboat Race and Festival, cast bodies with kids through Waushara County Human Services and created ceramic bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser to benefit Oshkosh Area Hunger Task Force food pantries.

“UWO provided me with an opportunity to grow as a leader and pursue my passion for art and, in turn, I had the opportunity to help others become more comfortable with their skills and making art,” Siewart said.

Check out a S.O.F.A photo gallery.

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