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Using Art to Serve the Community

| Elliot Adams

When passion and service intersect, that’s where magic happens. For junior Kate Netwal, a graphic designer with the student run magazine NOTA, that’s exactly what’s happening for her. Netwal, who is studying to earn her BFA in illustration, has been able to use her passion for graphic design and art to help promote NOTA. 

NOTA, or None Of The Above, has been a student magazine in circulation since 1969. It is published once a semester and features submissions for art, poetry, prose, and music from any student at UWEC. 

Netwal’s role within NOTA is to create graphics for the magazine’s social media. For her, the most rewarding aspect of her role is being able to foster a sense of community with other artistic students at UWEC. 

“Getting to create art on a very open-ended spectrum and getting to work with other NOTA staffers and UWEC students who take part in our events,” she said, “ It’s so much fun to talk with other students who love being creative and hear and see what they are currently making!” 

Netwal elaborated on the inspirational aspect as well, discussing how she hopes that the work she does with NOTA inspires students to submit their own work and hopefully get published. 

“Students are also able to see their work published, whether that’s in print or online, and that is definitely something to celebrate!” 

To prepare for her new role, Netwal drew on lessons she learned during her classes, putting the knowledge she gained into practice. While she has the most experience and interest in illustration, Netwal  likes the challenge of getting into a different discipline of art and being able to learn new skills. 

“My heart still belongs to illustration and telling stories with characters,” she said, “but I have really enjoyed diving more into the design side of art with this project.” 

Initially, Netwal was discouraged from pursuing any graphic design work but she decided to give it another shot with NOTA.

“Based on one bad logo design from a year ago I thought graphic design wasn’t for me, but I have slowly learned that I’m not so bad at it, and like anything, it just takes some practice.” 

Another rewarding aspect of her work was that Netwal was able to make meaningful connections with other staffers at NOTA. 

“I’ve gotten to work with other awesome designers as well as everyone on the poetry and prose side of NOTA. I’m going to miss our graduating seniors, having only gotten to work with them for a short time, but I can’t wait for next semester and welcoming new staffers onto the team.” 

Even though it's not always obvious, art has an impact on the community it is in. Something that Netwal gained an appreciation for through her service learning project. With the world feeling darker recently, Netwal felt she was able to make it a little brighter with her work.

“I have also learned the importance of sharing art and literature with UWEC and the Eau Claire area. Especially during the pandemic, art brings beauty and hope to our community.” Netwal said, “NOTA is a place for creators to express themselves through a creative outlet and share what they’re passionate about with fellow students. The value of this community is never clearer than during a challenging time.” 

Netwal is incredibly excited for the upcoming issue of NOTA and is busy helping put the final touches for the new issue. NOTA’s newest issue will be published on April 28th. NOTA can be found on Instagram at @uwecnota and on Facebook at @UWECNOTA. The previous spring issue of NOTA can be found on their website, https://open.uwec.edu/nota/