I am pleased to announce Professor Emerita Leslee Nelson as the judge and speaker for the 2018 WRAP/WRAA State Day Conference. She served as director of the Wisconsin Regional Art Program from 1982-2012 and also taught in the Art Department at UW–Madison 1985-2012. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Paris, India, and Japan as well as throughout Wisconsin and the United States. She published a collection of her Memory Cloths in 2008. Her husband, Professor Craig Werner is a cultural historian at UW–Madison. She has two adult daughters.
Her talk on September 22, Making Memory Cloths, will illustrate her journey as an artist. Literally—journeys to China, Germany, and Indonesia, along with her life story are embroidered on vintage family linens. Inspired by Voices of Women in South Africa, she has been making Memory Cloths since 2005. They asked her to share the process in America, which she has done ever since. -LP
Deadline to Confirm Attendance Sep 7, 2018
State Day Conference Sep 21-22, 2018
PYLE CENTER: 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706
Exhibition Entry Deadline Aug 1, 2018
2018 Annual Art Exhibition Aug 17-Sep 22, 2018
By Nina Stemwedel
Self-taught Wisconsin artist Lloyd Scarseth’s grandparents originally settled the family in the western region of the state, trading in the Norwegian mountains for the hills of Wisconsin. Lloyd grew up on a farm near La Crosse surrounded by two dozen cows and other farm animals, and beautiful expanses of nature. His surroundings inspired an interest in rural art, and later in his life Lloyd painted this whimsical line of cows peacefully winding through a beautiful farmland, now a part of the WRAP Permanent Collection.
Lloyd came from a family that was incredibly creative, greatly influencing his own passion to create. He grew up seeing his mother crochet, make rugs, and weave baskets out of corn husks; and admiring the carved and painted animals his father crafted from observation. Despite their shared interest, his artistic streak got him in trouble at times, as Lloyd admitted he used to "spoil a lot of good books" by drawing in the blank pages. In school his art was also encouraged, despite the fact that no art classes were offered. Admiring his talent, teachers always asked Lloyd to decorate the blackboard in chalk drawings for holiday celebrations.
By the age of 11, Lloyd was already making a name for himself, winning the first prize in a Trempealeau County Fair exhibit for his illustrated booklet on birds. In the eighth grade he began teaching himself watercolor painting, and in the ninth began his exploration of oil painting. Within his small community, there was much admiration of Lloyd’s artwork, but never much interest in selling on his part or in purchasing on the part of his friends and neighbors. Lloyd remained a farmer for his whole life, and never became a typically successful artist, because the way he saw it, “many people like my painting, but they have never been taught to place much value on a good picture.”
Richland Center recently started up a new WRAP, which went very well! We spoke to the Regional Coordinators, Sally Probasco and Becky Herb, to get some insight into what made their brand new WRAP so successful, and how they avoided getting overwhelmed with the details.
Sally Probasco, a longtime member of WRAA who has been involved with WRAP for many years tells us this all began with an artist northeast of Richland Center who expressed regrets that she would not be able to participate in a WRAP in 2018, due to the distance she would have to travel. A prior Regional Coordinator spoke with the artist and realized that despite an abundance of responsibilities, this overextended artist had enough enthusiasm for the program to assist in the setup of a new Richland Center WRAP by helping to hang the show. One by one individuals volunteered to take care of bits and pieces, such as securing a juror, finding a venue, publicizing the WRAP, photographing the workshop, show, and artworks, handling the technical side, assisting artists with registration, hanging the show, greeting artists, and holding everyone accountable for the responsibilities they had agreed to take on.
Organizing an event like this, with so many moving pieces, can be very tricky! Sally told us some particular areas of difficulty. First and foremost, many of the organizers of this WRAP belong to the Richland Area Arts Council, and they are overworked and overextended, working to encourage interest in the arts at the local high school, the local UW campus, and in the community of Richland Center as a whole. Keeping a handle on everything involved in planning this WRAP was easier with an organized list of tasks to complete, clear delegation, open communication and cooperation, and in some cases, Sally joked that coercion was necessary!
If you are interested in starting up a new WRAP, but concerned about the extra workload, you too could opt into a WRAP Committee rather than a single Regional Coordinator!
Regional Coordinator responsibilities:
- Manage communications between WRAP Central (in Madison) and their Regional WRAP
- Interact with participating artists and help them through the WRAP process
- Find an artist to act as Workshop Facilitator, and find a Juror
- Coordinate the WRAP (choosing entry deadline, art drop-off time and location, exhibition and workshop dates)
- Spread the word locally (word of mouth, emails, distribute posters provided by WRAP Central)
- Report stats back to WRAP Central after your workshop
WRAP Central provides a Coordinator Toolkit online, sends email updates and checklists 12, 6, and 2 weeks in advance of your workshop, creates and sends posters and award cards, and does email outreach to libraries local to your WRAP. If you are interested in becoming a WRAP Regional Coordinator, please email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
As part of the plan, the College of Agriculture installed an artist-in-residence, John Steuart Curry, who was recommended by Grant Wood, painter of American Gothic. He was one of the big Three—Benton, Curry and Wood—of the Regional Art Movement of the 30s and 40s which emphasized local subject matter in art.
Curry began a grassroots movement to encourage art in rural communities. Local groups began to form, and, according to Rural Art in Wisconsin, the first was in Wautoma. It began with a small group of kindred spirits who met in farm kitchens, parlors and cafes to paint and talk about art. In 1947 they named themselves the Rural Rembrandts Art Club of Wautoma. And in 1954, the Rembrandts, mentored by Professor Schwalbach, invited twelve other clubs to form the Wisconsin Rural Artists Association with Rembrandt founder Ray Spaulding as the first president.
Over time at least ten Rembrandts served on the WRAA board, and eight were recipients of the John Steuart Curry Award. Members have been prominent on the local, State and national stages, but it was the unsung volunteers who kept the spirit of creativity, community and “painting for pleasure” glowing for 70 years. Among them are the retirees who found new life in the club doing what they loved.
This year the club will celebrate its 70thanniversary at an annual two-day art show. The event includes adults and children’s art juried for awards, a display of inmates’ art, and an installation of vintage art and historical artifacts, as well as face painting and an art-making project for children. Saturday the judge will award prizes and critique the artwork. Sunday a program will include WRAP President Liese Pfeifer, Marjo Gard Ewell (on the Wisconsin Idea and the Visual Arts), and descendants of the founders including Gail Schwersenka. The event will be held at the corner of State Roads 21 and 22 in the WWII Memorial Building in Wautoma from 10-3 and is free to the public. Visit www.ruralrembrants.com and the club’s Facebook page for information as it becomes available.
Have you emailed Alli, Nina or Liese only to find out they were out sick? Now we have a general WRAP email, that goes straight to everyone at once!