Art walk

Despite the rain, visitors checked out the displays at last year’s Tomah Art Walk.

Despite the clouds and rain, last year’s first annual Tomah Art Walk attracted a curious and responsive crowd.

It has the Tomah Arts Guild excited about what a sunny day could do for turnout.

“The visitors were an intrepid bunch,” guild president Craig Zahrte said about last year’s event. “They braved the weather and said they hoped it comes back next year.”

Their hopes have been realized. The second annual Tomah Art Walk starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 on Superior Avenue across from Veterans Park, and Zahrte is optimistic that a day of sunshine will establish the Art Walk as a permanent presence on the local arts scene.

Fifteen artists have already signed up, and Zahrte is willing to accommodate additional artists who want to participate. While he prefers an established entry deadline, he added, “You can always fit more people at the end of the road.”

It’s the trail aspect that makes the art walk unique, Zahrte said. Artists will line up along the bike/pedestrian trail that runs along the Lemonweir River. Zahrte said it provides a pleasing backdrop for artists to share their creations.

“It’s a comforting and leisurely place to view art,” he said. “You can bike, walk or run to view the art.”

Zahrte said a wide range of artists will attend. They include Greg Wirtz, who will demonstrate his wood-carving technique throughout the day. Other artists will display paintings, ceramics, sculptures and jewelry and various crafts. Most of the artists live within an hour of Tomah, but Zahrte hopes the reputation of the walk will attract people from across Wisconsin.

“We want to have enough notoriety so that we can attract more professional artists from around the state,” he said. “We want this to be a statewide event ... our aspiration is to put people as far down that trail as we can get.”

In addition to the art, there will be music by River Winds Woodwind Quintet along with food and refreshments.

The event is an important one for the Arts Guild, which always welcomes new members and increased interest in local art. Zahrte said the arts grow when local artists come together.

“We tell people you’re not alone out there − there are lot of people out there who are doing what you’re doing and would like to know what you’re doing,” he said. “We want you to feel good about what you do.”


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