Inspired to give back to others through K-State Proud, Ariel Sinha incorporates this mission in her life today through art activism
When Ariel Sinha heard about K-State Proud as a freshman she was drawn to Proud’s mission of empowering students to support and give back to one another. She immediately knew she wanted to apply to work with Proud, and Ariel lived out the mission of giving back to students through her time at K-State, eventually serving as a Proud co-chair.
“It was such a special experience, and I think there’s something about a group of people combining their energy and channeling it toward something good and fulfilling that really binds us,” Ariel said. “My fellow co-chairs were truly some of the most inspiring peers I had ever worked with. I learned so much from them and from Mindy Weixelman, K-State Proud advisor at the time, about leadership and philanthropy. To this day, we all still keep in touch.”
Ariel graduated in 2012 after studying public relations with minors in French and women’s studies. Learning about multiple areas within the communications industry through the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications allowed Ariel to explore a wide range of job opportunities post-graduation. Ariel took her first job with a technology and media start-up in Lincoln, Nebraska.
After beginning that first job, the company had a need for a graphic designer. Although it was outside of Ariel’s technical job description, she was excited at the chance to bring art and design into her career. While art had been a hobby for Ariel since her childhood, she was never confident she could make a career out of it. When she got the chance to incorporate design skills into her job, she was able to establish herself within the creative field.
“What I learned is that the start-up environment can be quite free from red tape. If there’s a need within the business and you have ideas or a skillset to contribute, you can apply them, even if it’s outside the bounds of your hired role,”.
Eventually, art was no longer just a hobby but a core part of Ariel’s professional life. She moved to Chicago to expand her market. Ariel was able to develop a portfolio and focus on projects that resonated with her, which began opening doors within the industry.
Now in her work as a designer and illustrator, Ariel inspires others through philanthropy and activism, causes that have been central in her life since her involvement with K-State Proud. Ariel’s work has played an important role in sparking social conversations, especially with her work surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Starting as a way for her to express her feelings on issues, the portraits she created gained traction and were widely used in relation to the protests.
“My hope was that the work would resonate with those grieving and processing the events,” Ariel said. “Above all, I did these pieces as a way to contribute to the effort of seeking some semblance of justice for their families. I wanted to create something beautiful and shareable that anyone could use on their own platform to raise awareness and encourage action in their communities.”
Engaging in art activism allows Ariel to celebrate individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life. Within her work, Ariel likes to focus on women and non-binary people in order to show the power of beauty and representation.
“Whether it’s representing ethnicities, body types or abilities, I want anyone, especially marginalized folks, to be able to see themselves reflected in my body of work,” Ariel said. “I hope the work that I do inspires other people to think about how they might contribute to causes or issues that they care about in the ways that their abilities allow.”
To see some of Ariel’s work, visit The Power and Beauty of Representation with Illustrator Ariel Sinha – Society6 Blog. To give back to students through K-State Proud, like Ariel, visit Donate to Proud (ksufoundation.org).
Written by: Ariana Brancato