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home : community : community news August 16, 2017

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An instructor teaches a class at the School of the Arts Legacy Program Writers Retreat earlier this month at ArtStart in Rhinelander.
Submitted photos

An instructor teaches a class at the School of the Arts Legacy Program Writers Retreat earlier this month at ArtStart in Rhinelander.
8/12/2017 7:28:00 AM
ArtStart kicks off School of the Arts Legacy Program with writers' retreat

The final School Of The Arts in Rhinelander (SOA) was hosted in 2015 by the University of Wisconsin Division of Continuing Studies, ending a 50-year tradition. Since 2015, ArtStart has been working with UW-Continuing Studies to transition SOA to an ArtStart program.

ArtStart hosted the first of three weekend retreats to launch the School Of The Arts Legacy Program (ArtStart SOA-LP) Aug. 4-6 in downtown Rhinelander. Writing courses were held at both ArtStart and the Rhinelander District Library and were supplemented by free, public classes and events.

"We are very excited to create the ArtStart SOA-LP and make it an annual event," ArtStart program and operations director Ashley McLaughlin said in a press release. "It is an important program for Rhinelander. Not only did SOA have a big impact on the health of our local economy but it also inspired so many people, including the group of founders who formed ArtStart. It's a natural fit for ArtStart to bring it back and lead it. We exceeded expectations of students and instructors this weekend. The feedback we received was all positive. Melinda (Childs; ArtStart development director) and I received many hugs and thank yous when students were departing."

A group of 10 students and eight instructors from Rhinelander, Madison, Coloma, Beloit, and other areas of the state attended ArtStart's weekend retreat. Attendees were a mix of new and past SOA students.

The weekend opened at ArtStart with a free spiritual writing course by Marywood Instructor Julia Walsh. That offering attracted six attendees. Garyn G. Roberts Ph.D joined in at the Rhinelander District Library with a free course about writing your family story which was attended by 35.

Jerry Apps also offered a free event and book signing on Saturday which was attended by 55 individuals. Paid classes for students were intermixed throughout the weekend with topics of song writing, memoir writing, overcoming stumbling blocks, and writing from your senses, the release states.

"We really did not know what to expect this year from our program and many of our attendees didn't either, but it was apparent once the sessions started up that what made School of the Arts so special are the people who participate. There is something about bringing together a bunch of artists, magic happens," said Childs. "We are really happy with how the weekend turned out, from our outdoor dinner, to public reading, the community of School of the Arts remains strong and ready to enter a new chapter."

"When we started considering bringing back SOA, we met with past students, instructors, statewide partners, and local partners. We talked about what to preserve (some words that came up were community, multidisciplinary, exploration, artistic and intellectual energy, a unique place, and some things to add were more local programs, programs that may appeal to younger audiences, connection to more regional resources," said Childs.

Donors and sponsors that came together to support the ArtStart SOA-LP include the University of Wisconsin Division of Continuing Studies, the Robert E. Gard Foundation, the Northern Arts Council, the Rhinelander District Library, the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point College of Natural Resources Treehaven, Fab Lab Three Lakes through Three Lakes School District, Wisconsin Arts Board, WJFW Newswatch 12.

The next weekend retreat is "The Art In Nature" Sept. 22-24 at UW-Treehaven. Classes will include harvest papermaking, eco-dying and eco-printing, songwriting, environmental installations and sculpture, painting and drawing.

The final weekend retreat will be STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Mathematics) for Artists Oct. 20-22 at the FAB LAB in Three Lakes. Classes include, but are not limited to, 3-D printing, laser cutting, and digital photography processes.

ArtStart has started planning for next year. 2018 dates have been tentatively set for Aug. 9-19.

Instructor proposals will be accepted through the ArtStart website Aug. 15 through Nov. 15.

For more information, contact Ashley or Melinda at ArtStart: (715) 362 - 4328,, or visit the ArtStart School Of The Arts Facebook page.

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