Arts on the Square
Hands-on creativity encouraged
By Angie Landsverk
This year’s Arts on the Square will include numerous opportunities to participate in the arts.
There will be the chance to sit down and use a manual typewriter to write a poem.
Children will be able to create quilt squares, which will later be assembled into an Arts on the Square Tenth Anniversary Quilt.
Youth will also learn general carving techniques as they create sweet potato sculptures.
People of all ages will create a piece that represents Waupaca, and others will paint on canvas or create mittens.
This year will also see the return of the portable foundry – a community workshop which was part of the 2013 festival and resulted in a sculpture at Waupaca’s South Park.
This time, participants will get to take their tiles home with them.
“It’s really about the community participation this year – not just that day but throughout the week,” said Marci Reynolds, president of the Waupaca Community Arts Board, which organizes the event.
Reynold’s comment is related to the number of events and activities leading up to this year’s Arts on the Square, including chalking on sidewalks, music at venues throughout the downtown area and a bike parade for children.
“We’re trying to support local businesses. We feel Arts on the Square benefits them,” she said. “We want everybody to feel that the festival benefits them, that you’re celebrating that you’re a community that supports the arts.”
The 10th annual arts festival will kick off Friday, Aug. 19 with a free street dance on Fulton Street, featuring the music of WIFEE and the HUZz BAND.
The band will play on the Main Stage from 7-10:30 p.m.
An anonymous donation is covering the cost of the band.
Food and beverages will be available, and the fire spinning of Broegy Pease will take place during the band’s break.
The Saturday, Aug. 20 activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the city square.
“The festival has grown,” Reynolds said. “It’s funded by key sponsors, but we do fundraising throughout the year. People are willing to donate.”
Sponsors include Community First Credit Union as the key sponsor and Waupaca Foundry as the sponsor of the community tile workshop.
The arts board also receives Waupaca motel room tax dollars.
As in past years, there will be entertainment on three stages: the Main Stage, Historic Bandstand Stage and the Union Street Dance/Jazz Stage.
The entertainment on the Main Stage will include Johnny Dollar and the 4 Bits, Tom Pease, Gray Catz, Eddie Biebel and Vickie Basar and Irene’s Garden.
Johnny Dollar and the 4 Bits includes John Omernik, Dave Simonis, Al Pieper, Dave Poffinbarger and Chris Sands, of Waupaca.
Pease, of Amherst, will be back at the arts festival to entertain children and families with his music.
Gray Catz is a trio that has been together for about six years.
Eddie Biebel and Vickie Basar play a mix of Jazz, Blues, Folk, Bluegrass and originals.
Irene’s Garden is a seven-member ensemble known for its original songs which get people on the dance floor.
The Historic Bandstand Stage will feature the Aber Suzuki Strings, Jenny Burton and Friends, Fourth Octave, Ivory Wind and Oneota Flow.
Jennifer Burton will then take the stage to play some classical duet pieces with her violin partner Jacquie Wille.
Fourth Octave is a mixed quartet with an accompanist. The group has been together for about three years.
Ivory Wind features violinist Laurie Young, Ann Stevens on flute and pianist Joyce Josie.
Oneota Flow features Sarah Bauer, of Waupaca, and Megan DesRochers. They began making music together in a praise team during high school and are back together this summer to delve into types of music they did not have the opportunity to do in high school.
The entertainment on the Union Street Dance/Jazz Stage will include the Shuvani Dancers, Scott Dercks, Erin Krebs and Jeff Johnston and Dave Sullivan.
Dave Story, on acoustic bass, and Tony Wagner, on drums, will be the hosts of this stage and will play along with the jazz performers.
The Shuvani Dancers work together in a Tribal style as they explore the dances of North India, Tunisia, Egypt and other cultures.
Born and raised in Appleton, Dercks started his professional career when he was 14 years old and has performed at small venues, as well as at festivals.
Krebs is a vocalist and Johnston is a guitarist. They provide a versatile musical experience.
Sullivan was in his early teens when he started playing guitar. He has played professionally for more than 50 years, and today, his main focus is jazz.
The arts board will celebrates its 10th annual festival by bringing back Wisconsin artist and sculptor Teresa Lind.
In 2013, Lind and her crew of metal sculptors poured tiles for a community project which resulted in a sculpture for South Park.
“The foundry is sponsoring it again,” Reynolds said. “This year, all the etching will be done at Arts on the Square, and then they will be able to bring the tile home.”
The cost for the workshop is $15, and the pouring of the tiles will take place in the workshop area at 2 p.m.
Reynolds said the idea of bringing a portable foundry to the festival started small in 2013.
“It kept getting bigger and bigger,” she said.
It went from being an arts board project to becoming a Waupaca Foundry and city Parks and Recreation project, Reynolds said.
“So many people participated in it,” she said. “Everyone feels that it is our sculpture, and it is our sculpture. It’s the essence of belonging to a community. Because of that, we wanted to bring it back and let other people get a chance to make a tile and a connection to the foundry.”
Other workshops will include a Type-IN with poet Paul Wiegel on manual typewriters, children creating quilt squares with help from members of the Pieceful Hands Quilters and the chance to experience the body art which uses henna – in the Shuvani Emporium Tent.
In the We Love Waupaca! area, St. Paul, Minnesota artist Martha Duerr will lead participants in a mixed media and collage workshop.
Waupaca artist Ashley Gordon will lead the workshop which involves painting on canvas using acrylic paints.
All supplies will be provided, and those age 13 through adults are welcome to participate.
There will be sessions from 11 a.m. to noon and from 2-3 p.m. Seating will be limited to 15 people per session, and people may sign up a the workshop booth.
As the Waupaca Area Public Library prepares for its upcoming exhibit featuring the work of children’s author and artist Jan Brett, those who attend Arts on the Square will have the chance to create their own pairs of mittens as a reminder of the exhibit.
Sweet Potato Carving! With The Waupaca Area Wood Carvers will teach children general carving techniques as they create sweet potato sculptures.
People of all ages are invited to participate and learn more about wood carving.
Arts on the Square will also include a Poetry/Storytelling Stage.
“There is also a huge literary aspect of the festival,” Reynolds said. “We’re trying to express every area of the arts we can.”
At this stage, students and graduates of the Waupaca Dead Poets Society will share the poetry they love throughout the day.
The day will begin with Paul Wiegel giving ”Poetic Thoughts about Arts on the Square.”
Wiegel writes poetry from his home near Berlin.
The winner of the 2014 and 2015 John Gahagan Poetry Prize, Wiegel has been writing and performing on-demand poems as a street poet on his vintage 1957 Smith Corona manual typewriter for passersby at art galleries, farmers markets and festivals for the past five years.
He will do the same at this year’s Arts on the Square.
At this stage, Jerry Apps will talk about how to tell one’s story and why it is important to do so.
Born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, Apps is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them about rural history and country life.
He has published six novels and has won numerous awards for his writing.
Apps was named a fellow by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters in 2012 and to the Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame in 2014.
Patricia Reckrey will also share a few poems at this stage.
In addition, Kim Blaeser, Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2015-2016, will have her poetry books available for purchase.
Megan Syverson, who works as a technical writer, will dedicate her reading to the memory of her father, Mike Syverson. She will read a handful of his favorite poems.
Also at AOTS
Five years ago, The arts board’s Phantom Art Gallery Committee launched its idea of placing a Phantom Art Gallery in the window of a vacant storefront at the corner of Main and Fulton streets.
There will again be a Phantom Art Gallery at this site.
It will be open from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, with the entrance on East Fulton Street.
Artists, including many who previously displayed their work in the Phantom Art Gallery, will display and sell their artwork.
The committee will also sell commemorative wine glasses filled with red or white wine.
This year’s festival will also include the return of the 11-person Pedal Cloud bike car.
It was at AOTS in 2011, and people will be able to ride it again on Saturday, Aug. 20.
Wait at the corner of Fulton and Main streets, by the information booth, for a chance to pedal around North Main Street.
While rides are free, people will do so at their own risk and must pass the height qualification.
And, the lawn in front of city hall, as well as space along Union Street, will again be filled with artists.
“Our original idea, when we were a small group, is we had a dream of being an art festival with fine arts – a festival where people have to try to get into it,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been able to get artists who do large art shows in the Twin Cities, Chicago to apply. We have maxxed out the number we can accept at 41.”