SOLDIERS GROVE - One way to get a quick sample of the art and artists at the September 16 and 17 Driftless Area Art Festival is to visit the website, dirftlessareaartfestival.com.
Another way is to begin a visit to the sales and silent auction tent, where 65 pieces donated by participating artists will be auctioned off over the two-day event.
Thirty or more pieces will be up for auction on Saturday and the rest auctioned on Sunday. Hours for the auction, proceeds of which go to help cover Festival costs, are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The winning bidders can take their pieces by 3 p.m. each day.
“Like lots of people, I walk through, make bids, and then go looking for the individual artists’ booths,” said a visitor at last year’s the silent auction. “It‘s a great way to start the Festival visit.”
Festivalgoers can also sample the artistic talent of young people in the Driftless region. Almost 300 art works by elementary students from 11 schools will be on display in the Youth Art tent, as part of the Kids-Art Gallery. Professional artists will select blue-ribbon winners in three age categories, and the three young winners will receive their ribbons, checks for $25, and framed copies of their works. The originals will be sold at a live auction during the 2018 Festival.
The three winning pieces from 2016 will be the highlight of a live auction during the Festival’s Saturday evening Artists Reception. The proceeds of each piece will go to the art program in the individual student’s school. And schools participating in KidsArt Gallery are eligible for a yearly drawing of $500, to support a school’s art program.
This year’s pieces are ‘Gum Balls,’ a pastel drawing by Brett Connolly from Iowa Grant Elementary school in Livingston; a multi-media piece ‘Trumpet Sounds,’ by Makenna Monson of Doudna Elementary School in Richland Center; and ‘Barn Moods,’ a charcoal drawing by Rachel Gianoli of St. Charles School in Genoa.
“The Driftless Area Art Festival is committed to supporting arts in the schools, “ said Festival co-chair Liz Quebe. “Since 2007, we’ve been able to channel more than $11,000 to school art programs, and we’ve been able to display thousands of pieces created by young artists in the Driftless region.”
The Youth Art tent will also display the works of teen artists, who will compete for ribbons, cash prizes and collections of art supplies. Teen Art Gallery Prizes will be awarded Sunday afternoon.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 16, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17, in Soldiers Grove’s Beauford T. Anderson Park. Admission is free, and there’s plenty of free and accessible parking.
Major funding partners for the festival include Peoples State Bank, the Village of Soldiers Grove and its Community Development Corporation, and Wisconsin Public Radio. Other benefactors include Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative, Organic Valley, Rooted Spoon Culinary, Sleepy Hollow Auto, Star Valley Flowers, and Vernon Communications Cooperative, along with other corporate and private sponsors. For more information visit www.DriftlessAreaArtFestival.com.