Waupaca hosts hands-on art, music, poetry festival
By Angie Landsverk
Waupaca’s city square will be filled with artists, musicians and writers this weekend when the Waupaca Community Arts Board presents its ninth annual Arts on the Square.
The arts festival will be held Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 and 15.
Leading up to the event, the local retailers group called Waupaca, King and In Between will chalk sidewalks in front of their businesses.
New this year will be a chalking event for youth.
That will take place from 2-5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, around the square and will be followed by a 5 p.m. concert on the bandstand.
Youth who want to participate in the chalking may pick up a form at The Paint Store, Embellishments or the Waupaca Community Arts Center.
The next day, Davina and the Vagabonds will play for the Friday evening street dance.
The free dance will be held from 7-10:30 p.m. under the Main Stage tent on Fulton Street.
Food, beer and beverages will be available, with fire spinning by Broegy Pease during the band’s intermission.
On Saturday, activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“There will be some new artists here we haven’t seen before. When we started, our goal was to create a festival that artists wanted to get into,” said Marci Reynolds, who is the president of the arts board.
The nonprofit arts board continues to do that with its juried art show.
This year, 42 artists will be found on the festival grounds.
Their artwork will include jewelry, ceramics, wood carvings, paintings, metal sculpture, portraits, fiber, photography, graphics, silk fusion, lamps, leather and metal wind chimes.
See the complete Arts on the Square schedule of events here.
New this year
An addition at this year’s festival will be a poetry stage.
It will feature Lynn Gentry at 10 a.m., Bruce Dethlefsen at 11 a.m., a poetry slam at noon, Waupaca High School’s Dead Poets Society at 1 p.m., Jane “Tree” Peterson at 2 p.m. and Tom “T.C.” Farley at 3 p.m.
Gentry is a professional poet from New York City who writes custom poems on demand.
“I was in New York in the winter. I was on a subway going somewhere,” Reynolds said of the day she met Gentry and ended up inviting him to AOTS. “He was sitting at a card table with his typewriter.”
Dethlefsen served as the Wisconsin Poet Lauerate for 2011 and 2012 and has published two poetry chapbooks. His full-length poetry book, “Breather,” received numerous awards.
Peterson is a community midwife and poet. Farley is an artist and poet.
The WHS Dead Poets Society will share their poetry.
Also new this year is the fact that open intoxicants will be allowed throughout the premises, after the Waupaca Common Council on Aug. 4 approved such a request from the arts board.
Beer will be served under the Main Stage tent on Fulton Street and will include wristbands and the beer being served in blue cups with a logo on them.
In the last eight years, the arts board sold “little beer at the event,” Reynolds said.
Last year, about 5,000 people attended AOTS. A total of 750 cans of beer were sold, she said.
Reynolds said with music under three different stages and people wanting “to do it all,” this will allow them to move back and forth between the stages with a cup of beer.
Food and beverages will also be available at the festival.
There will be three music stages at the festival.
The entertainment lineup on the Main Stage will include Hillary Reynolds, Tom Pease, Ukelyptus, Kyle Megna & Friends and Ho Malone.
The Hillary Reynolds Band toured the East Coast and Midwest, and she will share some of her original songs at AOTS during her solo performance.
Pease, of Amherst, will be back at the arts festival to entertain children and families with his music.
Ukelyptus is a bluegrass band from north-central Wisconsin.
Kyle Megna & Friends just played at last weekend’s Mile of Music in Appleton. This duo plays Indie Rock and original music.
Ho Malone is a Waupaca band focused on original material.
The Union Street Stage will feature John Laedtke with Pamela Luedtke, the Chris Kokesh Song Circle, the Shuvani Tribal Bellydancers throughout the day between bands, Ian Duerr (Jazz Trio and also Jazz Jam) and the John Harmon Trio.
Laedtke is a Waupaca native who will share his love of the Flamenco Guitar while Luedtke, who lives in central Wisconsin and teaches dance, does Flamenco Dance.
Kokesh is a fiddler, singer and songwriter who moved to the area two years ago and mostly performs today with her husband LJ Booth. She teaches music at a local charter school.
On the Bandstand Stage will be Vibhas Kendzia, the Aber Studio Suzuki students, Jenny Burton & Friends, Vivace Chamber Players and One For The Road.
Vibhas is a classical trained flutist.
Suzuki piano and violin students will perform, as well as Burton herself.
The Vivace Chamber Players are all classically trained musicians from the area, and the barbershoppers in One For The Road are from Kimberly to Amherst.
This year’s community art projects will be the Community Song Circle, Circle of Community and Community Haiku Board.
Retired art teacher Marsha Mueller will lead the Circle of Community workshop, and poets will help people write Haiku poems for the Community Haiku Board, which will be installed on the outside of the Office Outfitters building, the sponsor of that project.
There will also be a fly tying workshop, as well as several workshops for children.
The children’s workshops will be Mystery Bag Challenge, Tissue Collage Masterpieces and Children’s Mandala Workshop.
In the Mystery Bag Challenge, Martha Duerr will give children a bag filled with various recycled materials, and the children will be challenged to create a creature.
Paige Berg will lead the Tissue Collage Masterpieces Workshop, and Elenore Hebel will lead Children’s Mandala Workshop.
Coloring sheets and various art supplies will be supplied for the Mandala workshop.
The workshops and community art projects will take place in the parking lot behind city hall and the library.