School Of The Arts To Return Under New Format

Jun 12, 2017

Attendees at the School of the Arts at Rhinelander.
Credit Daryl Youngstrum

A Northwoods institution is returning. ArtStart and several partners have announced the return of School of the Arts to the Northwoods.

School of the Arts began in 1964, an idea of the late UW-Madison professor Robert Gard to bring the arts to rural Wisconsin. For more than 50 years, the week-long sessions were held in Rhinelander.

In 2015, the University of Wisconsin Continuing Studies program announced the end of the program.

ArtStart spokesperson Ashley McLaughlin talks about the revival....

"....we are working with a number of partners and sponsors. The University of Wisconsin Division of Continuing Studies, the Robert E. Gard Foundation, the Northern Arts Council, the Rhinelander District Library, University of Wisconsin Stevens-Point College of Natural Resources-Treehaven and the FAB LAB in Three Lakes. We're all partnering to bring back a school of the arts, but it will be different...."

Instead of an intensive few days in one location, three arts retreats are scheduled this year.

A Writer's Retreat August 3-6 in downtown Rhinelander, followed by the Arts of Nature at Treehaven near Tomahawk beginning September 22, and an arts and technology session beginning October 20 at the FAB LAB in Three Lakes.

" for the writer's retreat we have everything from classic writing to poetry, and also writing lyrics for music. and for art and nature we have fabric dying from natural elements we have installations from nature. We have people interested that are interested in teaching how to make art from actual elements of nature and how to gather inspiration. The STEAM program, that is a unique one..."

STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math at Three Lakes focuses on the art aspect of design.

McLaughlin says ArtStart began as part of the School of the Arts at Rhinelander.

More information is at the ArtStart website at