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Is the West Coast of WI the new Door County?

Celeste Nelm of Maiden Rock won the Maiden Rock Mural Contest with this photograph mural, which was announced at Summerfest by event coordinator Lisa Roberts Saturday, June 18. See for more mural photos. (Submitted photo)

MAIDEN ROCK/STOCKHOLM -- Two of the most creative villages along Wisconsin’s Great River Road are combining their artistic forces for a special “Meander & Stroll” event 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.

The “Maiden Rock Meander” and the “Stockholm Art Stroll” have each become popular evening events, bringing in regional artists to meet the public and show new work. During the event, both villages will open their doors for the combined “Meander & Stroll,” an extravaganza of artistic, musical and culinary festivities.

“The area has always been a magnet for artists, but there’s an artistic boom going on right now,” said one of the event organizers Mary Anne Wise, who is also co-owner of Maiden Rock textile gallery Cultural Cloth. “The gallery scene is exciting. More artists are moving to the area and the culinary scene is expanding. Maiden Rock, especially, feels like a renaissance.”

Amanda Scholz, who recently opened The Purple Turtle Artisan Collective in Stockholm, agrees.

“Is the region the new Door County? Maybe not quite yet,” said Scholz. “But that’s the direction we’re heading.”

Scholz lived for several years in Door County, one of the most popular arts tourism destinations in the Midwest, and she sees many similarities between the arts and culture of the two areas.

“We’re a haven for artists, a destination for art lovers and we’re surrounded by incredibly beautiful scenery,” she said. “And I think we’re ahead of Door County in the number of nationally-renowned artists who live in our area.”

Both Maiden Rock and Stockholm have highlighted their local artists over the past year. Maiden Rock recently held a mural contest and will host a discussion with the mural artists during the Meander & Stroll. The winner of the contest, Maiden Rock resident Celeste Nelms, is a nationally-known photographer whose work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Walker Art Center and other museums across the country. During the Meander in Maiden Rock, muralists will be on hand to discuss their works.

In Stockholm, Abode Gallery has been highlighting local and regional artists in a series of themed art shows. The final show in the series, “Earth,” will feature the work of local jewelers, glass artists and potters, such as the highly regarded potters Peter Deneen, Mary Deneen and Martha Winter from Pepin Farm Pottery.

Stockholm and Maiden Rock, seven miles apart, are on the scenic drive that winds along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi. In addition to the arts and music festivities during the Meander & Stroll, each of the participating vendors will offer treats and beverages for visitors to enjoy.

“We want this to be an event that’s fun for visitors and townspeople alike,” said Wise. “We’re incredibly proud of our area, and we want to share the wealth with everyone.”

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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