Perf. Arts

State artists to converge on Richfield for annual show



By Nicole Kiefert - Special to TimeOut

July 17, 2014

RICHFIELD - Artists from all across Wisconsin will bring art ranging from canvas bags and paintings to sculptures July 26 to raise funds to restore the Messer/Mayer Mill in Richfield Park.

The Richfield Historical Society is putting on its sixth annual Richfield Art at the Mill and Plein Air Painting event. The show features more than 70 artists.

“They’re coming all the way. I’ve got some from Appleton, Burlington, Sun Prairie, Neenah, but a majority are coming from the southeastern part of the state,” said Lois Hessenauer, historical society volunteer and event chairwoman.

Linda Derrick, a historical society member and featured artist, said people from Illinois also occasionally drive up and participate.

The show will display a variety of art media, including painting, photography, wood, fiber, clay, glass and gourds.

Derrick is a juror for the art fair and said she likes being involved in that aspect.

“I enjoy interacting with the artists as they sign up for the fair and seeing all the artwork that comes in, the variety of media. We have a nice mix of media,” Derrick said. “It is not crafts, it’s art.”

She said the event is juried, ensuring the quality of art.

West Bend artist Sally Durkee said she appreciated how helpful and kind historical society was in setting up the event.

“The promoters from the historical society are very nice people. I don’t do shows where the promoters aren’t nice to the artists, but these people are nice. They’ll help you if you need to take a break, they’ll watch your booth. So that’s nice that they offer that,” Durkee said.

Mary Anne Schmitt of Hartford and her daughter-in-law, Kristin Schmitt, are displaying their works together. Mary Anne will display paintings and Kristin will show her canvas purses and clutch bags.

“It’s a variety of different things that I do,” Mary Anne said. “I like to venture out in different areas and mediums.”

Durkee is going to be showing pottery bowls, recycled liquor bottle platters and pine needle baskets. She also offers a class in the fall to teach people how to make their own pine needle baskets.

New this year is a children’s activity area called the Kohl’s Color Wheel, sponsored by Kohl’s and presented by the Milwaukee Art Museum. Hessenauer said the art museum will set up three tents with activities for the children in the hopes of attracting more families.

“We’re hoping to bring out families and if they can have something for their kids to do while the parents are looking around at the artists, then maybe the whole family will come out,” Hessenauer said.

This is Mary Anne’s fourth year returning to the show and she said she would definitely return.

“I just love meeting the people and the layout that they have and the way they treat us is terrific,” Mary Anne said. “It’s a very well-done show and very organized. It’s just a wonderful atmosphere.”

Durkee said she is excited for the event to raise awareness for all the artists out there.

She said she likes “meeting the customers and seeing what they like, that they appreciate what we do. It’s hard nowadays but it’s nice that they’re supporting American-made art.”

Derrick said it is a great event because there is so much to offer.

“It’s in a pretty setting, it’s music, it’s food, it’s entertainment in that there’s activities for kids and it’s a pretty walk and the museum exhibits are open as well,” Derrick said.

The proceeds go to restoration of the Messer-Mayer Mill in Richfield Park, which Derrick said is a rare thing.

“It is one of the very few mills left in the country and even fewer mills that have all the original equipment, so the goal is to hopefully get the equipment running and get water from Cootie Creek, which runs from the park, to operate the mill,” Derrick said.

Tours of the Messer-Mayer Grist Mill and Homestead House are available for $5. There will also be a silent auction of artists’ donations, music, food, wine and beer provided by Bilda’s Friess Lake Pub. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Richfield Historical Park. There is no admission fee.

What: Richfield Art at the Mill and Plein Air Painting

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 26

Where: Richfield Park, located one-half mile north of Highway 167 on Highway 164

Cost: Free