"The Wisconsin Regional Art Program was established to encourage nonprofessional artists in Wisconsin to develop their abilities," explains program director Leslee Nelson, as she prepares for the WRAP annual statewide exhibit. The exhibit consists of artworks selected from 16 regional exhibits held throughout the year. It opened August 24th in Madison and will close September 28th.
The Wisconsin Regional Art Program (or WRAP) cosponsors workshops and exhibits around the state with local art groups. At each location, an accomplished artist gives a demonstration and judges an exhibit of work submitted by participants. Winning artists are invited to send their entries to the statewide exhibit in Madison. Upcoming workshops schedules can be found on the WRAP Web site.
The Madison show is held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association's annual state conference to be held Sept. 28 at the Pyle Center. Over 585 artists will gather to receive awards, applaud the winners and hear from outstanding state artists.
This year the keynote speaker and awards judge will be Georgene Pomplun. Ms. Pomplun blends humanity with nature in her oil paintings and also serves as the art director for Guild.com. Ralph Russo, another featured artist, is director of the Wisconsin Union Galleries. Mr. Russo is a photographer who creates evocative black & white imagery of themes close to home. Both artists will present slides and speak about their work.
Ella Gardner of Marshfield has been active in WRAP since 1964, when her youngest son went away to college. She studied art one summer at the Art Institute in Chicago but family responsibilities forced her to put her painting on hold. "Once the kids were grown, I could get back to my art," she says. Gardner, who has had several painting sent to the State Exhibit over the years, says she likes the workshops because she "meets so many different artists." She attends the WRAP program in Wautoma. "WRAP participants are very supportive of the program," says Nelson. "Many attend workshops year after year and some are even raising money to keep the program going. Already, they've collected $27,000 for an endowment fund. Local art groups contributed blocks to a wonderful quilt to be raffled. Artists all over Wisconsin appreciate this program that is a partnership between the Wisconsin Regional Artist Association, WRAP and the UW-Madison."
Upcoming WRAP workshops include: September 7 in Beloit, and October 26 in Fond du Lac. Visit the WRAP Web site to learn more about the program, find regional workshops and exhibits and more. Contact director Leslee Nelson at (608) 263-7814 or email Leslee Nelson.
Visitors can view the exhibit in Madison Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street. There is no charge. The show will hang August 24 through September 28.