September 18, 2012

Portage County offers an abundance of arts

(Photo: KT Elements)

Where in central Wisconsin can you find great galleries featuring work from local and national artists, one-of-a-kind owner operated art galleries, and a unique sculpture park nestled among the pines?

Look no further than the burgeoning arts scene in Stevens Point and Portage County, located smack-dab in the middle of Wisconsin.

Galleries, museums and more

Galleries and art museums abound in the area, from the Carlsten Art Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to downtown’s Scarabocchio Art Museum, named after a style of decorative doodling invented by area resident David L. Smith.

The Riverfront Arts Center sits along the shores of the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point’s Pfiffner Pioneer Park and hosts exhibits by local and regional artists. Q Artists’ Cooperative is an artist-owned and operated gallery where customers can purchase paintings, prints, photos and jewelry, and App Art Studio is a gallery and studio featuring the oil and watercolor paintings of Wisconsin artist Marie App.

Q Artists’ Cooperative (Photo: KT Elements)

Other area art attractions include Clay Corner Studio and Koerten’s Fine Framing & Gifts, both in Stevens Point, and Tomorrow River Gallery & Gifts in Amherst.

You don’t have to venture to a gallery to see great works of art, either. The Stevens Point Sculpture Park is a 20-acre outdoor art installation that features works by local, regional and national artists. And throughout downtown Stevens Point, visitors can find a series of historical murals, painted by local artists Kelly Meredith and Greg Luedtke, which tell the story of Stevens Point through people, places and major events.

And the arts scene stretches into Portage County’s eating and drinking options, too. Enjoy culinary creations at one of the area’s supper clubs or fine dining-establishments like @1800, a restaurant whose outstanding art collection – including works by Picasso and Dali – is on display for diners to enjoy. Sample great craft beers from one of the three local breweries – Central Waters in Amherst, O’So in Plover and Point Brewery in Stevens Point.

October event celebrates area artists, performers

All the county’s cultural offerings will on display during Bounty in Portage County on Friday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 7. The annual arts showcase highlights Portage County’s arts scene with a series of events, from the Manhattan Short Film Festival to the Hidden Studios Art Tour. Bounty in Portage County also features live music, arts performances, a beer festival and more.

Here’s a sampling of some of the weekend’s events:

  • The Manhattan Short Film Festival screens at the Sky Club in Plover and the Lettie Jensen Center in Amherst on Friday. Portage County is one of dozens of hosts for the weeklong film festival, which will screen finalists in more than 250 cities across the globe.
  • All weekend long, working art studios across Portage County will open their doors to the public for the only time all year during the Hidden Studios Art Tour. Explore the winding roads and quaint communities of Portage County at the peak of fall color season.
  • Art aficionados can also stop by the Rising Star Mill in Nelsonville for a look at the “The Barns of Portage County,” a photographic exhibit that is free and open to the public all weekend.
  • A taste of Germany comes to Portage County when Plover’s own O’so Brewing hosts PLO-toberfest, its own Oktoberfest celebration, on Saturday. Live music, food, fun activities and (of course) beer highlight the event.
  • Also on Saturday, the Northern Gateway Chorus, a four-part a cappella group, will fill Stevens Point’s Theater @1800 with their classic barbershop sounds in the Harvest of Harmony. The Northern Gateway Chorus will perform at 5:30 and 7:30pm Saturday.
  • To cap the weekend, live performances, food and art demonstrations come to SentryWorld in Stevens Point for Toast to the Arts, an annual fundraiser that raises long-term, local grant dollars for arts and culture in Portage County.

For more information about Portage County’s arts scene or for more details on Bounty in Portage County, visit

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