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Printing student art and opportunities

The Wildcat Print Association, a student-run club, prints and sells student art to bring visiting artists to campus

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Printing papers out for class is on every student’s mind, but printing artwork and selling it on campus to bring artists to the University of Arizona is what the Wildcat Print Association is all about.

The Wildcat Print Association, a UA student-run club, works to raise money through art sales and auctions to bring visiting artists to the Tucson community.

 It’s a big loop. The club invites community members to learn how to make art, that art then goes up for sale, which then provides money for visiting artists to come talk to students and the community. 

 Workshops are set up throughout the year to bring in people and teach them about printmaking. The art then goes to the WPA so it can be sold. 

“We have a monotype workshop and other printable surfaces on the eighth [of Feb.],” said Zach Gotschalk, the club’s president. “Then we have our Valentine’s Day sale on the 12th, 13th and 14th of February.”

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Monotyping is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface

Gotschalk said the point of the workshops are to make a nice product, something that can be sold to the public and bring in both money and new members. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that participants learn a new skill and are able to have a good time interacting with other artists. 

 “Often with workshops Zach will bring in a matrix we can do relief on, paper for people who don’t have paper,” said Tai Huesgen, the club’s secretary. “Participants get to use that and learn, but the cost is you’re contributing to the sales.”

Huesgen recognizes that a lot of the UA members are in printmaking classes and already know how to make monotypes or use other printmaking techniques, but the workshops are a chance for community members who don’t necessarily have those opportunities to make prints and learn something new.

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 “It’s nothing insane that takes hours and hours of work. Relief can be done in a shorter period of time,” Huesgen said. “People get to make prints, and they can pay their dues, contribute to the sale, learn something new, make art.”

Relief printing is a family of printing methods where a printing block, plate or matrix that has had ink applied to its surface, but not to any recessed areas, is brought into contact with paper.

Although the club does ask for most prints to be donated for sales, the artists know the money will be used to bring great artists for them to learn from. In the end, it’s all for the community.

 “All the money goes to bringing more visiting artist to pay for their supplies, get them here, get them back home, and then they have a little spending money,” Gotschalk said. “We bring all-stars.”

The club also hosts other events like silent auctions to bring in more money for visitors. The club takes works from past visiting artists that they hold in a permanent collection, and then they are put into a silent auction to raise money, Gotschalk explained. 

“We had a huge auction last semester that brought in a lot of money,” Gotschalk said.

 Bringing visiting artists to UA is the main goal of the print association, but it’s everything that happens in order to reach the goal that makes the club loved.

Nyx Penn, a UA alumna, has been a club member for four semesters and said what she loves the most about the WPA is the camaraderie.

“It’s nice to know there’s people out there just as crazy as you,” Penn said.

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Many other club members expressed the same feeling of loving the community that the WPA creates. Gotschalk said that he recognizes everybody in the club has very busy lives, but he likes the idea that they can all get together to work on a common goal and do printmaking. 

For him, the actual printmaking in the university’s print room has a lot to do with the community aspect of the club. 

 “We all meet in here, because this is where the only equipment is, and we all hang out and have fun, and we bring food,” Gotschalk said. “We buy pizza or something like that, it’s not just working.”

Huesgen said she loves the medium of printmaking because there’s so much you can do with it, but she made it a point to say that she loves the people more. 

“I’ve met some of my favorite people in this room, and it’s cool being part of a community, and it’s cool learning new things,” Huesgen said. “The community is my favorite part.”

The WPA also aims to create opportunities for all the student members to showcase their art. Gotschalk said he thinks the club needs more social events and recognition from outside the art school as well.

 “I think beyond the art sales there’s not a lot of [recognition], so we’re trying to give our colleagues an opportunity to either show their work or learn new things,” Gotschalk said. “More opportunities would really help bring in more members and create more commitment within the existing ones.”


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