Art Fest Showcases Local, Regional Art in Community Event
Artists, organizers and sponsors work together in a labor of love to bring festival to life.
More than 50 artists will display their work in downtown Waukesha Saturday, Sept. 10, in an event that is sure to please art lovers and community members alike.
The area is getting ready to host the 22nd Art Fest, which features artwork from a variety of different artists, a silent auction to benefit a scholarship fund, music at two locations, and a children’s tent with fun activities.
The festival was held in Cutler Park in previous years but moved to downtown about three years ago, where it was a “natural fit,” said Lynn Gaffey, Almont Gallery owner and Art Fest board member. It was a good fit because of Waukesha’s growing art community, with more than 150 artists in the downtown area alone, according to Gaffey.
Art Fest will be on Main Street at the Five Points, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it too continues to grow every year.
Visitors to the festival will find ceramics, fiber, painting, photography, wood, sculptures, glass, print-making and mixed media art on display and for purchase. Most of the artists are local or regional.
As a juried show, the artists on display had to submit pictures or examples of their artwork to be selected by a panel of artists. Historically, previous years’ artists are invited back without re-submitting, unless they substantially changed their artwork, Gaffey said.
The each artist also donates one piece of art to the silent auction, which provides scholarships to 10 Waukesha high school and Carroll University students.
“So there’ll be 50 great things to bid on,” Gaffey said.
Auction to benefit scholarships
Although the amount of money isn’t large, with 10 scholarships given out – two for each of the four high schools including Catholic Memorial and two for Carroll University, being selected means a lot for the students and future artists.
“It’s not a huge amount by any means, but the recipients are selected by artists, so it’s meaningful,” Gaffey said.
In the future there may be another scholarship opportunity for student artists as people commemorate an area artist.
Contributions have been donated in the name of Julia Nestingen-Palm, a former Art Fest recipient 2001 who died last year of cancer. Julia graduated from Waukesha North in 2001, and the School of the Art Institute-Chicago in 2005. She worked as an artist at Plank Road Publishing in Brookfield.
The festival isn’t only for art lovers. It’s a community event, with the Business Improvement District sponsoring it, Carroll University organizing the silent auction, and Steaming Cup and Magellan’s providing music stages for the event. Other sponsors include Thomas Printing, Inc., WHAD Wisconsin Public Radio and Century Fence Company.
Kohl’s, along with the Milwaukee Art Museum, is hosting the children’s tent, which will allow children the opportunity to dabble in making art.
It's a worthwhile event for the area but pulling it together takes some work by all.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Gaffey said.