Art Fest helps artists, students
Waukesha hosted its 22nd Annual Art Fest on Main Street between Broadway and Maple Ave. last Saturday, making this only the third time the show has not been held in Cutler Park, according to Gwenda Helgert, a Waukesha Art Fest board director.
The art show was juried, meaning that each artist’s work was critiqued by a panel of art experts before entering the show.
“Once the artists are accepted into the show, they are required to pay an entrance fee and donate at least one piece of their artwork to a silent auction,” said Emily Kammerud, a Carroll University student and volunteer at the auction.
Proceeds from the auction are awarded to senior art students at every Waukesha high school and at Carroll, but featured artists kept their own sales profits.
“Carroll’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts has spent many years in charge of the auction,” said Phil Krejcharek, a Carroll art professor and chairman of the department.
The auction awards two scholarships to senior students from every Waukesha high school and two scholarships to senior art students at Carroll.
“Carroll became connected with Art Fest through Friends of Carroll, an alumni group that no longer exists,” Krejcharek said, “This connection opened the door for Carroll to receive scholarship funds from the silent auction.”
Among the many artists featured in Art Fest was Joan Richter of Muskego. Richter’s art niche is pots, vases, birdhouses, and other such creations handcrafted from gourds grown in Wisconsin, Arizona, and California. She calls her work Black Earth Gourds.
“I really enjoy showing my stuff,” Richter said.
She maneuvered around orange, beige, and black gourds, many of them carved into ghostly jack-o-lanterns and vases for Halloween. Richter also weaves baskets and teaches basket weaving at East Troy Elementary School every Monday.
“But gourds are my main thing,” she said.
Richter, except for the help of Gary Wolt, who cleans her gourds, has been showing her work by herself for 12 years.
“People said I should do this show and that show,” she said. “So I did.”
Cheryl and Chuck Johnson, of Franklin, also showed their work at Art Fest. But no earthy finish like that of gourds is to be seen in their small booth. Dazzling glass wind chimes, jewelry, flower stands, and coasters are among the various fused glassworks the couple sells.
“I heard [Art Fest] was a nice affair, happy, so we came,” said Chuck Johnson.
The Johnson’s began their home-based business, Genesis Glasswerks, working with stained glass. After two years, they branched out to fused glass which they have been shaping for seven years.
The two are developing a website for Genesis Glasswerks as they grow their business.
Artists in other areas like ceramics, fiber, mixed media, painting, jewelry, pen and ink, photography, printmaking, and sculpture donned their masterpieces by the sidewalks of Main Street.
In addition, jazz and blue grass artists took turns providing the soundtrack for the throngs that meandered down Main Street.
“I’ve loved art my whole life,” said Janet Knapp from Waukesha and program director of Waukesha Creative Art Group. “It’s fun to see what all of these artists bring to the show.”