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School of the Arts continues long legacy of creating arts community with return to Rhinelander later this month


The School of the Arts history goes back to 1964 when Robert Gard hosted 50 students and six writing instructors in the Northwoods for the first School of the Arts writing class.

Over the years it grew into a week-long program attended by hundreds of students and instructors and expanded into many forms of art.

The program ended in 2015 until ArtStart and other partners were able to revitalize it in 2017.

This will be the first time School of the Arts is held without support from the University of Wisconsin system.

“Coming right after the pandemic makes it extra challenging, but what we’re trying to preserve is the community of artists and creative people coming together in Rhinelander, in this beautiful setting and just learning together and experimenting together. It’s not for fine artists only. It’s about exploring art and exploring the creative process,” said Melinda Childs, ArtStart Community Cultural Development Director.

It was held virtually last year due to COVID, but Childs is excited to be bringing it back in person once again.

“A big part of School of the Arts is the community that forms around just making art and learning together. Being in person just makes that community so much stronger,” she said.

This year’s School of the Arts will be at Nicolet college and features nine instructors with expertise ranging from creative writing to printmaking to metal work.

Like the last time School of the Arts was held in 2019, this year it’s done in conjunction with Project North.

“We paired it with Project North to make a bunch of energy, creative energy around music and art and classes and all of things we can leverage bringing creatives and artists to town for both events,” said Childs.

Childs wants to emphasize that you don’t have to be a fine arts artist to attend, it’s open to people at all levels.

School of the Arts runs September 15th through 18th.

You can sign up for the whole program or specific classes and days. You can learn more about the instructors, workshops, and registration on ArtStart’s website.

Childs encourages people to sign up quickly, registration closes soon.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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