Arts & Eclectic

Explore Fond du Lac’s Thriving Art & Culture Scene

| April 9, 2018

Art can advance, deepen and potentially transform the consciousness of a community.  In Fond du Lac and the Lake Winnebago Area, the arts comes in the form of performances, galleries, hands-on experiences, community statues, and events designed to highlight the artists in the region.  The most visible example of the community’s investment in the arts is the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts.  Locally known as “Thelma,” this premier venue offers unparalleled access to music, film, classes and art exhibits.  As the cornerstone of the Arts & Entertainment district of downtown Fond du Lac, it also serves as a wonderful venue for girlfriend getaways, reunions, and social gatherings.

Also located in the Downtown Arts District, the Gallery and Frame Shop is Fond du Lac’s full-service, custom-picture-framing shop and art gallery since 1975. The shop features local art, jewelry, photography, pottery, fair- trade items, souvenir note cards, photos of the Fond du Lac lighthouse and other area historic landmarks.  Ubuntu (oo BOON too) is the concept that “I am what I am because of who we all are.” This gallery features art, gifts (many under $50), cards and Fond du Lac art and souvenirs all created by local artists for your home, office, or gift-giving needs.  Gather at Macy Place Art & Tea Shoppe.  Shop for gifts, art, handmade wearable art and crafts. Groups of friends or work colleagues can sign up in advance for a class or tea tasting event.  Four times a year six galleries open for the evening for the Gallery Night with a fun-filled weekend in late spring called Art All Around.

Just to the south of Fond du Lac is Waupun, The City of Sculpture, known to have one of the highest concentrations of public art per capita in the U.S.  This timeless legacy is due to the love of art by industrialist Clarence Shaler whose story dates back to the Mackford Prairie farmers in the late-1800s.  “The End of the Trail” sculpture depicts the plight of Native Americans who were displaced across our country.  It was unveiled in 1929 and became a Wisconsin landmark on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1975. One sculpture spent 30 years in the basement of the University of Wisconsin before it found a home in Waupun. There is a map available of eight of the sculptures to visit by car or on foot. The Waupun Fine Art and Craft Fair is a one day fair held the first Saturday in August in Waupun’s beautiful Dodge Park offering beautiful green space for vendors and attendees. Dodge Park also is home to Waupun Fine Arts Summer Concert Series in July and is well known by the community. Adding to the festive atmosphere of the show enjoy live entertainment under the pavilion throughout the day.

Plan a visit around the first weekend in June for the Annual Art on the Island! Walk through Lakeside Park, along the shores of Lake Winnebago, as you browse the works of over 70 artists from all over the Midwest. Shop from a variety of fine arts and “original-in-design” crafts including paintings, ceramics, jewelry, garden art and more. Enjoy live music, food, and beverages.

In mid-October spend time in the region for the Rural Arts Roadtrip. Embark on a self-guided driving tour to bask in the fall colors on rural roads and in scenic small towns. See the artists at work in their studios.  Enjoy adventures from hayrides to corn mazes and savor delectable local foods. There are over 50 eclectic artists represented with one of a kind: stained, leaded, etched, enameled, and hand blown glass, stitched, beaded jewelry, hand-spun, handwoven apparel and household furnishings, hand-painted yarns, hand-felted apparel, spritzers and bath salts, yard art, willow furniture and more. Enjoy organic, local foods including grass-fed beef and poultry, pure maple syrup, honey, and artisan cheeses.

For more information about Fond du Lac and Lake Winnebago region go to www.fdl.com.

Fond du Lac Area Convention & Visitors Bureau