Nearly 100 people attend Arts Summit
By Angie Landsverk
Each area arts organization functions in a different way, but they all share the same purpose of promoting arts in the Waupaca area.
That was among the ideas expressed during this month’s Waupaca Art Summit.
Creative collaboration was the topic of the event, and the area arts groups now want to get together for a social event, where they may forge relationships.
City Administrator Henry Veleker got into the spirit of the evening when he closed the summit by reading the Haiku poem he wrote.
The Japanese form of poetry includes three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line and five in the third.
Last year’s Arts on the Square included a Haiku Board, which will be installed on the outside of Office Outfitters. Those who attended the summit were encouraged to write a Haiku poem to add to it.
“So what to do next. Go forth and collaborate. Onward Waupaca,” Veleker said.
The Waupaca Community Arts Board, city of Waupaca and Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the summit earlier this month, at Waupaca Ale House.
Almost 100 people attended the event, which included examples of community collaboration and the opportunity to think about how creativity may be included in the planned reconstruction of Waupaca’s downtown.
Ald. Paul Mayou spoke on behalf of Mayor Brian Smith and the common council when he said the city wants to do all it can to support the arts.
Keynote speaker Bev Crane said creative collaboration is an art form in itself.
“When the group owns the ideas and decisions, the results become bigger than the group ever imagined,” she said.
“Tell Your Story in the Tiles,” demonstrated that.
This local project involved the Waupaca Community Arts Board, Waupaca Parks and Recreation Department and Waupaca Foundry, resulting in a sculpture being placed in South Park.
Marci Reynolds, president of the arts board, and Aaron Jenson, the city’s parks and recreation director, talked about their involvement in the project.
“It was just an idea, a community arts project to do at Arts on the Square,” Reynolds said.
The idea of having a portable foundry at the festival evolved to including Waupaca Foundry in the pouring of the tiles and eventual creation of the structure.
“We would visit the plant and see the people working to construct it,” Jenson said. “Everyone that was working on it, you could tell as we were walking through, they would say, ‘Let me show this.’ They took pride in it.”
Naletta Burr, of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, said communities celebrate creativity in numerous ways.
Some, like Sturgeon Bay, do so with street art, which annually raises funds to promote the community.
In Fond du Lac, a MakerSpace at the public library will give people a place to tinker and create, Burr said.
Kenosha uses vacant storefront windows for artists and musicians during its Second Saturdays event.
“Every one of them is different. Artists can also sell their work. It serves as an incubator for artisans,” Burr said.
She said those three communities are examples of looking at the big picture, involving the community and building something sustainable.
Linda Begley-Korth shared how the village of Cambridge cultivated community engagement after the recession by raising money and hiring a consultant.
She went door to door to invite residents to a community meeting, and the local grocery store included information about the meeting in its bags.
“We had 125 people show up. They were all then tied in and responsible,” Begley-Korth said. “We told them to dream big.”
Crane said, “So much of what you heard had to do with people coming together.”
She said the arts may be used to bring people to a community.
“It all does come together,” Crane said. “Don’t leave someone out. If you do, you’re leaving out an important piece.”
Attendees also attended breakout sessions during the summit.
They want to create an identity for the community, preserve historic buildings, come up with ideas for aesthetic improvements when Main Street is reconstructed, build a vibrant and welcoming community, create a space for youth and the arts, come up with innovative ideas for vacant storefronts and identify the needs of artists and creative people in the community.