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Fall art tour starts Oct. 5

Submitted photo.

On Friday-Sunday, Oct. 5-7, the Fall Fresh Art Tour will return to this area. Traveling along the Great River Road, just voted as the most beautiful drive in the U.S. (by The Huffington Post), at the peak of fall's fiery colors, the Fresh Art Tour gives participants the opportunity to have an art adventure in one of nature's remaining unspoiled regions.

In the area along the rivers, people will tour the Villages of Maiden Rock, Stockholm and Pepin, and Southern Pierce and Pepin counties. The artists' homes, studios and galleries, some formerly old farms and their out buildings, have been made into spaces of beauty ready to welcome and involve the public on this self-guided tour.

The artists have become a big presence in this region. It's the usual story; the country farmsteads were cheap. Artists moved here in the 70's, with a "back to the land" intention. It's like a lot of areas where artists move in, they open little shops as a way to make a semblance of a living... a good restaurant or two, and eventually the towns become a destination.

And now a thriving art scene is located in these Villages of Pepin, Stockholm, Maiden Rock, Durand, Arkansaw and Plum City, and the rural areas they serve. With theaters, music, artists, writers, a film festival and more--many art events that are offered draw thousands from the larger cities and towns, and it continues to grow each year.

Traveling along the river and into the countryside, tour goers will discover the scenic winding roads and, every once in a while, the talented artists and craftspeople on the tour. There are great cafés, galleries, restaurants and inns in the area, presented in a low-key manner, typical of the Midwest, yet the quality is startlingly good. Maybe too, find a farm here and there that has put their produce out where customers pay at the box--the honor system.

Arriving at an artist or craftsperson's studio, don't be surprised to find a talented, possibly world-renowned artist who extends an invitation to view their work and gallery.

An example of one of the sites is the Myklebust-Sears, which will offer a range from Andrea's homespun wool creation to architectural designs mocked up for sculptural installations to be done at locations like airports, colleges and the capitol. Here is an opportunity to see the development of their works.

Many of the studios on the tour have guest artists who display their work along with the host's. This tour allows people to submerse themselves in a new view, the artists' view, on many levels: bathed in the beauty of the area, of the studios and gallery's work. Come away with a greater sense of what they are about, giving further dimension to their work.

This is the 15th annual tour. It has grown in popularity as many attendees return year after year, bringing friends and family to share this experience.

The tour is comprised of 17 sites from Durand on Hwy. 10 to Maiden Rock on Hwy. 35 (the Great River Road). For more information, visit the website at Fresh Art Tour or call 715-672-8188.