From Friday, September 30, through Sunday, October 2, the 19th Annual Hidden Studios Art Tour (HST) will offer an exceptional opportunity to view distinctive art works created in multiple media at seven artist’s studios in Portage County. In-studio artists on the Tour will also be joined by an additional 13 guest artists displaying and discussing their works. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. A full description of Tour details, including artist demonstrations, mediums, and biographies, can be viewed at: HiddenStudiosArtTour.com.
New on the Tour this year is the Arnott studio of Jessie Fritsch, Buzz In Art Studios, that will feature her encaustic/wax paintings as well as the oil paintings of guest artist Lenny Nagler. Jessie’s work in this difficult medium has been on view previously as a HST guest artist, while Nagler will make his first guest artist appearance. His work features landscapes and figure pieces in a variety of oil techniques ranging from palette knife to brush studies.
Six long-time studio hosts and visitor favorites also return to the Tour joined by many new guest artists. They include New Hope in Wood artist Paul Klein, whose sculptural lighting pieces will share his studio space with the award-winning photography of John Walton, the extraordinary wooden box constructions of Larry Anderson, and the mixed media paintings of Ruth Fromstein. Klein combines wood, stone, metal, and handmade shades in a variety of functional lighting pieces while Walton’s photographs are nature centered and have been recognized as Best of Show at Madison’s prestigious Art on the Square. Anderson’s wood boxes are much more than functional, with sculptural elements and multiple wood species, and have been featured in national publications.
The glass and multimedia sculptural pieces and printmaking of artists Kevin Brunett and Kristin Thielking will be featured at their studio, along with the printmaking of Ken Swanson and encaustic pieces of Randy and Lisa Lee. The Lees’ oeuvre combines photography, encaustic coatings, and custom frames. Combined with Swanson’s tinted linoleum block prints and the hosts’ multimedia works, the large studio space will offer substantial variety.
The third New Hope Township studio features the one-of-a-kind glass pieces that Sharon Fujimoto produces in her on-site glass kiln. The objects are both functional and artistic and take advantage of the happy “accidents” the medium offers its masters. Her works will share space with the leather art of Pam Bronk and the ceramics of Carolina Niebres. Both artists also combine functionality with creativity and beauty in their chosen media, and together, the three have been widely recognized for their originality.
Mark Bruggeman’s Nelsonville workspace, Atelier Vermeil Studio 2, located in an old brick bank building at the center of the Village, will be the setting for a display of his prints and drawings as well as recent pieces combining handmade paper, hand-set letterpress text, and poetry in singular pieces. The studio guest artist, Elise Thornton, is a basket maker of extraordinary skill, combining traditional and untraditional materials in remarkable pieces that are both imaginative and practical.
Two studios in the southern part of Portage County, Red Sky Studio and the Wood Plane, complete the high artistic standard of the Tour. Red Sky Studio is the home studio of Mary Lee Reineking, known for her watercolors and mixed media pieces that employ a wide range of styles, colors, techniques, and textures. Ceramicist Neil Estrick and jeweler Claudia Winter are her guest artists. Estrick’s work has been praised for its lightness and precise glazing, comfortable to the hand, while rugged enough for daily use. Winter’s jewelry features fabrications of silver and resin in striking combinations.
The Wood Plane, home studio of master woodworker Mike Jagielo, will feature his custom work in multiple wood species. His pieces range from small everyday objects to elaborate cabinetry and complex sculptural pieces. He is joined by two guests, jeweler Kim Wilson and pewter artist Rebecca Hungerford. Wilson uses silver, gold, and semi-precious stones and a variety of finishing techniques in her handcrafted pieces. Hungerford, a pewterware artist since 1975, combines practical usage with remarkable originality and has been featured in the Smithsonian craft show.
The Hidden Studios Art Tour will set several landmark milestones this year, a testament not only to the quality of the work on view but proof that the community recognizes and supports the positive cultural and financial impact made by artists in their lives. Since its start in 2004, HST has not only become an optimal cultural and social event set in a vibrant, fall landscape, but it has also generated nearly $1 million in direct purchases to local artists. Indirect spending by tour visitors has benefitted local economies, with an average of more than 1,000 attendees taking part each year and patronizing local businesses.
In appreciation, tour artists voluntarily donate a percentage of sales back to a chosen local charity each year. This year, the Portage County Meals on Wheels program is the beneficiary.
Leonardo da Vinci once wrote that, “The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.” The Hidden Studio Tour offers an ideal way to research this maxim surrounded by nature’s finest colors.
The Hidden Studios Art Tour is featured in our display case through mid-September. The tour is open September 30 and October 1-2 this year throughout central Wisconsin. You can find more information in the article on the next page and at hiddenstudiosarttour.com. Stop by the Jensen Community Center to see a preview during our business hours or when you are here for a rental or event. Thank you so much to all the artists for sharing their beautiful artwork with us!
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