Jules Arensdorf

Dancers in Turkish folk costumes dancing in a line.

Arts

I am a member of the Mesoghios Greek Dance troupe, and I immensely enjoy this opportunity to connect with my roots. In June of 2017, my partner and I had a sound installation piece in the pop-up community art exhibit, Forge in Madison, WI. In 2013 and 2014, I organized a Dubuque, IA edition of Fun-A-Day and collaborated with local art groups Art Gumbo—a quarterly soup dinner that provided micro-funding to local artists—and the Dubuque Area Arts Collective.

In addition to Art Gumbo and the Dubuque Area Arts Collective, I also regularly volunteered with other local initiatives such as DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival, the Washington Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Emergence of Spirit. In the photo below, I am helping to install a piece for the 2013 Voices from the Warehouse gallery.

Helping to install an art piece at the Voices from the Warehouse Gallery


Music

In my free time I play the piano and accordion, and over the past few years have dabbled in bass, guitar, lap steel guitar, violin, cello, and any other instrument I can get my hands on.  I have also taught piano lessons and occasionally play for events.  The picture above was taken at the Washington Neighborhood street painting block party in Dubuque, IA: a collaborative improvisation.

I also enjoy music as a way of connecting with my community.  I am currently in two bands, Feral Twin and Token Minor, and have previously played with Tiny Dinosaur. I have also performed with the UW Russian Folk Orchestra (video below), the Madison Symphony Chorus, and at the Green County Cheese Days festival along with more than 100 other accordion players.


Social Justice

Social justice, racial equity, diversity and inclusion are all issues that matter greatly to me, and I try to engage and support social justice action whenever I can.  In practice this means participating in demonstrations, serving as a facilitator for social justice dialogues such as the Our Wisconsin initiative, and integrating critical practices into my work and teaching. It’s always a work-in-progress, and I always have more to learn and ways to grow.


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Volunteering

I am delighted to be involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of Dane County, and enjoy hanging out with my ‘Little.’  While living in Iowa, I got involved with the Dubuque Bike Coop, a nonprofit whose mission is to build community by utilizing bicycles to promote healthy living and wellness along with environmental sustainability. In addition to serving on the steering committee and attending mechanics’ nights, I created their former website and assisted with special events and check-outs at the Dubuque Farmers Market. Below is one of the linocut valentines I made for our booth at the 2014 Dubuque Nonprofit Community Block Party.

Linocut bicycle valentine