(Sturgeon Bay, WI)—March 26, 2020—Miller Art Museum invites community members to participate in a sketchbook challenge—no matter age or skill level—to document this unprecedented time in our lives. The Miller will have FREE sketchbooks available tomillersketchbookchallenge graphic1 anyone wishing to participate. A blank sketchbook may be picked-up any time after 5pm Monday, March 30, 2020, from the literature box outside the south door of the Miller Art Museum office, located at 360 Nebraska Street, filled up and later dropped off or sent back to the museum when the pandemic and threat of social interaction subsides.

In February, the Miller Art Museum launched a weekly community sketchbook challenge that invites submissions from followers for the #millersketchbookchallenge, which is featured on the museum’s Facebook story every Thursday. The project amplifies and builds on this existing concept.  

“Never before have we experienced anything like COVID-19,” says Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead, executive director. “We want to move beyond the physical space of our galleries—which, like so many other local businesses, has closed—and hear from our community about what their individual experiences surrounding the pandemic have been. Regardless of the chosen medium of documentation, the intent is to foster the development of this alternative narrative, outside of the barrage of social media, that brings together the many voices of our community and weaves a narrative that can be used as a platform for reflection as we move into the uncharted territory of the months ahead.”

Anyone can participate in the project; however, the book cannot be returned empty and it must remain the same as its original dimensions. They may be filled with words, poetry, drawings, observations, photographs, collage—anything that documents this moment in time and subsequent weeks and months. One can create independently, intergenerationally or collaboratively in any media conducive to the format. There is a limit of one sketchbook per person so as to ensure broad community participation.

“The timing is appropriate given the circumstances,” Meissner-Gigstead continued. “As we’re having to accept the reality of social distancing and the lack of interaction with other human beings other than those in our immediate circle, we offer this project as a catalyst for creativity, an outlet to maintain our sanity, and a source of social healing and change to push us beyond the frustrations and anxiety that many of us are feeling at the moment.” If you’re finding yourself with idle hands, the Miller would love to see the art you’re creating. The FREE sketchbooks will be available while supplies last. In addition to or in place of, community members and artists are encouraged to hashtag #millersketchbookchallenge on a Facebook post of your sketchbook or any media of work and the museum will consider it for inclusion is upcoming postings. The current exhibition, Wade in Water, Into the Field: Paintings by Judi Ekholm is available as a virtual tour at www.millerartmuseum.org. The exhibition is supported, in part, by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts and has been generously sponsored by Jack and Sue Anderson, the MMG Foundation and Third Avenue Playhouse. The museum and administrative offices are closed to the public until further notice; museum staff can be contacted via email at .

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