For the third year in a row, art enthusiast Nina Wurzelbacher has hosted an arts and crafts fair titled Arts ‘N Smarts to raise money for the educational programming provided within Santa Maria Community Services’ International Welcome Center (IWC).
The Arts ‘N Smarts fair began as a senior capstone project for Nina in 2017 but continued after her graduation from Seton High School. Working previously with immigrants, children, and education during her volunteer position at Holy Family Parish’s Children’s Church in Price Hill, Nina became passionate about helping immigrant families achieve their educational goals. Nina’s desire for helping stemmed from her two, week-long mission trips to Guatemala with her school in 2016 and 2017 with Agua Viva Children’s Home, and nine-week internship and mission trip to Guatemala in 2018 with From Houses to Homes. During her trips, Nina worked with children and assisted with various art projects.
For the past three years, Nina has recruited local artists to participate in the fair, and each contribute 10% of their sales to Santa Maria. Nina also donates the artists’ registration fees to the agency and collects donations from friends, family, and those interested in supporting the IWC. “I am an artist with a passion for the Spanish language and a desire to serve God by helping His people,” said Nina. “What better way to put it all together than an art fair that raises funds for a charity that supports the immigrant community right here in my neighborhood?”
This year, Arts ‘N Smarts was held at Rapid Run Park and included artists and crafters who create poetry, jewelry, painting, soaps, knitting, and crocheting. In total, Nina has raised over $1,000 for Santa Maria’s International Welcome Center. “We are so grateful to Nina for her support of the International Welcome Center and the families we serve,” says Luz Schemmel, Santa Maria’s Immigrant Outreach Director. “Not only does her fair help provide important resources for families getting acclimated to life in the area, but it supports a community of people who can connect in a welcoming a safe place. Nina’s kindness and thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated by the families we work with.”
Santa Maria Community Services’ International Welcome Center (IWC) provides support for immigrant families transitioning into a new culture. Support includes English as a Second Language or English Language Learners classes, Spanish literacy classes, Ohio Public Benefits and other community resources, financial education, educational assistance, employment assistance, and family support. The IWC also includes a Youth Enrichment Program which provides enrichment activities for children.