with Karen and Paul Munson
Karen and Paul Munson give to White Bear Center for the Arts for one simple reason: their daughter Lexi. Lexi spent her childhood and teen years taking classes and volunteering with the art center, and according to Karen, WBCA “has played an integral role in shaping the amazing young woman she is today.”
She started out working with WBCA clay instructor Adama Sow. “We can’t say enough about him and the impact he had in shaping Lexi’s talent and confidence,” Karen Munson said. Adama was the first person to strongly encourage her to participate in the youth portion of the Uptown Art Fair. “That first day,” Karen said, “as Lexi was setting up, here came Adama. He came to show support and purchased a piece, telling her it would bring her good luck. Now mind you, Adama was busy setting up his own booth over at the Powderhorn Art Fair. How do you put a dollar amount on that?”
While continuing to learn from Adama, Lexi branched out to learn from other instructors. During one of WBCA’s High School Visual Arts Contests (in which she went on to participate) Lexi saw a piece of pottery that really intrigued her. She mentioned it to Gallery Director Danielle Cezanne, and before they knew it, Danielle had gotten the supplies and found an instructor willing to teach Lexi the technique. This led her to work with clay instructor Zac Spates. “He, too, became such an important part of her journey,” Karen said. “Zac taught her that technique, and Lexi began making ‘crackle’ bowls. To this day these are some of our favorite pieces she makes.
Karen gives to White Bear Center for the Arts because of the support and encouragement Lexi found in her clay community. “While Lexi, more often than not, has been the youngest one in the studio, it has never mattered. She is always accepted and respected. Many life lessons have been learned and friendships made within the walls of that clay studio.” Once Lexi was no longer participating as an artist in Imagine Art, she turned to volunteering for the summer program. She was now assisting instructors whose classes she’d taken and helping in the clay studio. “It was full circle, and she loved it,” Karen said.
Lexi is now a senior at St. Catherine University, majoring in marketing and accounting with a minor in nonprofit strategies and operations. She spent this last summer doing her college internship at WBCA. “More than 10 years later, WBCA continues to embrace, encourage, cultivate and teach. Always wanting to help Lexi, our daughter, achieve her goals, whatever they might be. Acceptance, inclusion and friendships, isn’t that what we all want? Well, that little 11-year-old girl found that at White Bear Center for the Arts. That’s why we give.”