Kewaunee Fourth of July features new Art Walk
Kewaunee County is home to many talented artists and on July 4 county residents will have a unique opportunity to view their work during what organizers hope will be an annual Kewaunee Art Walk, says Beth Liebherr, a Chamber of Commerce board member who has brought the art walk concept to Kewaunee.
The Art Walk showcases 60 original works by 30 area artists on banners displayed in downtown Kewaunee.
The featured artists live in the county or have a close association with it, Liebherr said. As a juried show, all artists had to submit samples of their previous work to be accepted.
“These wonderful artists have painted for several months,” said Liebherr.”We want to put Kewaunee on the map for artistic talent in Northeast Wisconsin.”
The banners were hung on June 23 with an artist’s painting on either side. The banners start at the corners of Ellis and Wisconsin 42 in downtown Kewaunee. They extend a block west and two blocks east on Ellis, as well as to the bridge over Kewaunee Harbor on 42, she said.
The banners have been judged with a first, second and third place awarded among the 20 adult entries and a Student Award given for one of 10 student entries.
The winning banners will be announced on the 4th of July when anyone in attendance will be invited to stroll down the street and vote for another award – “People’s Choice.” .
The “People’s Choice” award will be announced between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Lakehaven Hall on July 4..
It was Liebherr who proposed the idea to the Kewaunee Chamber of Commerce this winter after helping to organize a similar art walk in West Bend, her former hometown.
As a new Chamber member, she said she was hesitant to propose an idea at last December’s meeting, but when she did everyone on the board saw it as a great opportunity, including Chamber president Vicki Vollenweider, she said.
Liebherr, who is an artist herself, has assisted Terry Worth, art teacher at Kewaunee High School, with art classes. She also taught a painting class at the Kewaunee Artisan Center, so she involved artists from both the high school and the artisan group in the contest.
Her committee included Vollenweider and Julie Thoreson, another chamber board member.
“I was worried, we won’t have enough entries,” said Leibherr. As it turned out, so many artists volunteered that a waiting list developed.
The artists have been working all spring on their entries. Liebherr said it has been an exciting time for her and her husband, Jerry, who is organizing the Veteran’s Car Show in Kewaunee on July 9.
The couple moved to Kewaunee five years ago.
They had been vacationing with friends in Door County several years earlier and stayed a few nights in Kewaunee.
“It was such a warm community,” said .Liebherr. They enjoyed the atmosphere so much that they started spending more weekends here, driving up from West Bend..
As an artist, Liebherr said she enjoyed being near the lake and exploring all the hidden treasures in the area, like the barn quilts. She also appreciated how quiet and uncrowded it was compared to the Door peninsula.
“One January night we were driving into town, and I looked at Jerry and said “Doesn’t it feel like we are coming home?’.” she said.
He agreed and the couple spent “a marathon weekend” looking at more than 30 homes in the area before settling on one on First Street that had room for Beth’s art studio.
After making improvements to the house, they moved here permanently in 2012.
“It is a Norman Rockwell-ish town,” said Liebherr. “It’s the best kept secret in Wisconsin.”
Liebherr said that the Kewaunee Chamber of Commerce board wants to thank art walk sponsors, including Jon’s Creative Photography Kewaunee, which provided the photographic imaging of the banners.
Other sponsors include Amy’s Coffee House, Bob’s Auto Parts & Service; Coho Motel & Suites and Lighthouse Gift Shop, Cold Country Vines & Wines, George and Marlene Orr, Harbor Express, The Harbor Loft, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Kewaunee Artisan Center, Kewaunee County Star-News/Gannett, Kunkel’s Korner, Lakehaven Hall, Nelson/Sivert Chiropractor, Nicolet Bank, Novak Agency, Prevea Health Center, R & J Rentals, Salon 220, Title Trends Inc., and Vollrath Co.
The Kewaunee Chamber of Commerce is already organizing next year’s art walk with a call to artists. Artists interested in participating in the 2017 Kewaunee Art Walk, can email [email protected] by Jan. 3, 2017, for entry instructions. The show is looking for adult as well as high school student artists.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Kewaunee Fourth of July features new Art Walk