Shawano County celebrating 50 years of art

Fair coming to Mielke this weekend
By: 

Evan J. Pretzer news@wolfrivermedia.com


Leader File Photo Angie Timm, right, of Gresham, examines stained glass articles at Rose Daul’s booth during the 2017 Shawano County Art and Craft Fair. This year’s craft fair is this Sunday.

For the 50th time Sunday, artists and craftsmen will head to Shawano and set up shop at the Mielke Arts Center to showcase and potentially sell their work at the county arts fair.

Since 1968, the Shawano County Arts and Craft Fair has featured artists and craftsmen from Shawano County and elsewhere in Wisconsin. Initially, the event geared more towards art, but an organizer says it has shifted overwhelmingly to different types of crafts in recent decades.

“A lot of the change we’ve experienced has been very basic,” Art Fair Director Cheryl Folkerts said. “In the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s we were basically showing off sculptures, paintings and stuff like this in the park. But now, it is way more on the craft side of things. This year and really in the last few years, we’ve not had as many artists.”

Those who wish to attend the free event can see items like soap, woodwork and food for sale in addition to a play area available for younger visitors. Though the fair does have a tilt towards one side of its name, for Folkerts, this is the best way to do a show. In her view, other options only limit what is available to the public.

“If we worked to include more art or more crafts, it would become a juried show,” she said. “I don’t believe anyone would want this. It is more fun the way we’re doing it now, and crafts are still very much art.”

Although Folkerts was positive in her assessment of the event, not all familiar with it share her view. In a phone conversation Tuesday, Green Valley resident and frequent exhibitor Alex Majeski expressed concern about the fair’s direction, but also said he still sells a lot of his pottery when he attends.

“It is practically becoming a flea market and is less about the art,” Majeski said. “Even so, I still go because I do quite well when there. It is really a nice venue and I think people tend to know a lot of my wares.”

The Shawano County Arts and Craft Fair is open July 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food will be sold at the Mielke Arts Center. Donations are encouraged and support arts in the area.

As of press time Tuesday, entries were still being accepted for the show. For information, visit shawanoarts.com and click on the art fair link, or call 715-851-5002.