Lauren Rundquist, a 20-year-old University of Missouri-Columbia student from Wildwood, said art always played a huge role in her life. She didn't realize how much her artistic passion would inspire others, though, until recently.
Rundquist graduated from as part of the 100th graduating class in 2011. She also was featured in Creations Literary and Art Magazine in 2010 and 2011, featured in "St. Louis Community College-Wildwood Art Exhibition" in 2010 and 2011, and was chosen to design the Eureka High senior class banner displayed at graduation and permanently on display at the school.
After graduating high school, she started an independent jewelry business. "It has grown more than I would have ever thought. I now sell my jewelry in seven local boutiques (one in Wildwood), and recently opened a shop on Etsy, LaQuist," she told Patch.
Rundquist said she combined her artistic interests with her passion for volunteering and began an art-based charity during her freshman year at Mizzou. Her "Creativation Project" is a charitable organization designed to inspire children to find success and confidence through creativity and art.
She said she has been able to reach many children at Columbia (MO) youth organizations and homeless shelters. The growth and impact of her charity led to her receiving the Mizzou Chancellor's Award for Community Service Leadership.
The mission of the Creativation Project is to inspire children to possess creativity, imagination, inspiration, and innovation without limitation, she said.
"Our volunteers visit local youth organizations, homeless shelters, and children's homes, hoping to serve as positive and relatable role models and friends to young artists, as we create pieces of art that broaden their knowledge and appreciation for the visual arts," said Rundquist.
"Art is a fun, imaginative and rewarding outlet for creativity that helps improve children's cognitive, creative, and fine motor skills as they explore and discover their artistic abilities. Success in art comes simply from creation, and we hope that this success will lead to confidence and to accomplishments in all areas of life."