Working studio for artists on Main Street
By Angie Landsverk
A working studio for a group of local artists is the newest addition to Weyauwega’s Main Street.
Mary Beisner, Lucie Erickson, Rose McCurdy, Alex Obertin, Brenda Strehlow and Dianne Veeser are the six artists behind Blessings & Friends.
It is Beisner who brought them together under one roof.
“I wanted to promote the local talent,” she said. “It’s hard enough for an artist to get started.”
She appreciates and enjoys being around other artists.
“Mary is passionate about promoting one another,” Veeser said.
In explaining how she became involved, Obertin said, “She knew my mom.”
All of the artists are either from or currently living in the Weyauwega area.
And, each of them works in different mediums.
Beisner is a glass artist, who started her own business, Blessings Glassworks, in the Weyauwega area shortly after she began working with glass as a hobby.
She has taught classes at Fox Valley Technical College and at the Waupaca Community Arts Center.
Erickson does mosaics, while McCurdy does jewelery and the fine arts, particularly watercolors.
Obertin is a photographer and graphic designer, and Strehlow makes candles and lamps.
Veeser works in the fired and fiber arts.
“I appreciate that it’s different mediums,” McCurdy said. “We’re not competing with each other.”
The space Blessings & Friends is located in – at 123 E. Main St. – became available in the spring.
That is after the city moved out of what had been its temporary city hall, while the municipal building project was underway on the same block of the street.
For years, Beisner dreamed of having a working space for area artists.
“I wanted a big barn, where we all could create art, sell it and have fun together,” she said.
After the downtown building became available, she traded her dream of a barn for space on Main Street.
When Beisner got the key for it on May 27, it was her, Obertin and Strehlow.
Soon, others contacted Beisner, including Erickson, McCurdy and Veeser.
Additional artists are also interested in becoming part of it.
“It kept morphing into something bigger, something better, something exciting,” Beisner said.
They chose new colors of paint for the walls,
Beisner’s husband, Bob, who built her shop by their home, supported the new venture by building or changing whatever they needed.
Blessings & Friends opened on June 14, and its grand opening took place on July 10.
The business is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Each artist works at the shop one day a week, and most of them plan to offer classes when they work.
People may visit www.facebook.com/BlessingsnFriends for updated information about the classes being offered.
The artists were pleased with the number of people who visited them during the grand opening.
“The feedback from the public’s been great,” Beisner said. “They say it’s a great place to buy gifts.”
In addition to gifts and the opportunity to take classes, people may also buy supplies there.
“There’s a little bit of something for everybody,” Erickson said.
Guest artists will also be visiting Blessings & Friends.
Information about them may also be found at www.facebook.com/BlessingsnFriends.
With a new municipal building on Main Street and the addition of this studio, Erickson hopes it becomes a tipping point for the city and encourages others to consider downtown for possibilities.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity. I don’t think any of us could have done it on our own,” McCurdy said. “Together, it gives us the chance to have a gallery-like experience.”