SOLDIERS GROVE - In less than two months, the 2017 Driftless Area Art Festival will open in Soldiers Grove. Festival planners are again inviting art lovers to help over the September 16-17 weekend.
Eighty artists have been selected from across the Driftless Area, the land never touched by the glaciers, which includes much of southwestern Wisconsin, and also parts of southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois.
They will bring drawings and prints, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal works, mixed media, oil and watercolor paintings, pastels, photography, sculpture, furniture, wood carvings and turnings and, and sculpture. The emphasis is on fine art, not crafts, though many pieces are functional as well as aesthetic.
A key to the success of this yearly community event is the more than 60 volunteers who work as greeters at the entrances, walk the grounds as Artist Support to relieve artists, assist in the Silent Auction tent and Sales booth, and support in the Youth Art tent.
There are three shifts each day of approximately two hours on Sunday and three hours on Saturday. Volunteer coordinators Theresa Yaeger of Ferryville (Theresa@ferryville.com) and Diane Craig (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Soldiers Grove invite art lovers to be a part of the team that makes the weekend successful and enjoyable for arts and festivalgoers.
“It’s very interesting to meet so many artists and art lovers,” said one repeat volunteer. “It’s especially fun working with the artists.” Another said volunteering during the weekend gave him “a chance to get inside the art world by helping to share it with my friends and neighbors. And during the festival, I make a lot of new friends and see neighbors I don’t see all that often. That’s why I volunteer every year.”
Besides the fun of the festival, volunteers get a special t-shirt and an invitation to the artists’ reception Saturday night, a chance to greet the artists, enjoy foods prepared by Chef Dani Lind of Viroqua’s Rooted Spoon Culinary, and visit with friends and fellow volunteers.
Major funding partners for the festival include Community Development Alternatives, Inc., 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 and Star Valley Flowers.
Hours for the Art Festival are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17. Admission is free and there is plenty of free and convenient parking.
For full information on the Festival, its supporters, and opportunities for volunteering, visit www.driftlessareaartfestival.com.