Most guests and visitors to Madeline Island are very surprised to find out that Madeline Island is home to a number of world-class arts organizations, founded and located on purpose in this place of natural beauty. It has been one of the island’s best kept secrets. The arts and culture scene on the island, on a per capita basis, is now one of the best in the country and the secret is out.
The newest arts organization on the island is Madeline Island School of the Arts and now ranks among the top five art and craft schools in the country. MISA offers classes in: writing; plein air and studio painting; quilting, fiber arts; and photography. The school features world renowned instructors, spacious studios, superb on-site accommodations and can ensure an unforgettable experience on the island. Madeline Island has an arts and crafts tradition going back at least 300 years, so your time on the island will be something to savor. For more information about the Madeline Island School of the Arts please see their website at: madelineartschool.com; or call 715-747-2054.
For a music experience, there is nothing like the Madeline Island Music Camp, founded in 1985. Now entering its second quarter century of chamber music excellence, their mission is to provide chamber music training and performance for talented young musicians in a structured, residential environment on beautiful Madeline Island. The Music Camp features renowned and distinguished faculty and resident string quartets and woodwind quartets from across the nation. For more information about the Music Camp and to obtain a concert schedule for 2016, please see their website at: music-camp.org.
The venerable Madeline Island Museum, originally the project of islanders Leo and Bella Capser, is now owned and operated by the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Today the museum includes the four original historic log structures the Capsers filled with artifacts, as well as a newly expanded section of the museum. The Museum displays and curates artifacts going back at least 300 years and includes a beautiful collection of local native American bead work. The Museum sponsors a number of interesting talks each season in conjunction with Northland College, and also serves as a meeting venue for everything from island organizations to family weddings. For more information about the Museum and its schedule of events, please see their website at: madelineislandmuseum.wisconsinhistory.org
Madeline Island is also home to the LaPointe Center Art Guild and Gallery, an umbrella arts organization partly funded by the Wisconsin Arts Board. With the help of the Arts Board, grants are given every year to artists seeking to make a one-of-a-kind impression with their artistry. In addition, the LaPointe Center shelters the Madeline Island Radio Hour, the Opera Guild, the Madeline Island Book Club, their own art gallery and the Positivity Children’s Theater, performing an annual locally written childrens’ play.
In addition to the four major art institutions who make their home on Madeline Island, there are a number of independent galleries and shops featuring local and regional work by many artists. Prominent among them are Bell Street Gallery and Woods Hall Gallery and Studios to name just two. Between these two alone, more than 100 artists are represented. Bell Street Gallery features the work of many local and regional artists, artist demonstrations, and “Paint and Sip” evenings in the Art Bar, the islands most cozy wine bar.
Woods Hall Gallery and Studios represents more than 50 years of arts and crafts tradition on Madeline Island. This workshop was originally started by St. John’s Church to provide a space for island women to learn to weave rugs for fun and some even for profit. Many of the rugs were purchased right there at the original workshop. Today weaving has become a large enterprise, contributing to a great retail shop filled with the work of local men and women and loved by all who see it. The sight of a huge floor loom with a stunning rug being created provides entertainment for those who watch and a product for those looking for a unique and locally made item to take home from the island. There are classes in weaving and pottery taking place year round here. This workshop entices world class instructors from many countries to provide instruction in a variety of forms of weaving. Woods Hall has just completed a major capital campaign to enlarge their working space and create a more welcoming entrance for visitors. See woodshallcraftshop.com for more information.
We also have Madeline Island Candles, made from renewable soy and created on the island by the Madeline Island Candle Company. They also hold soap making demonstrations and flower arranging seminars, in addition to strolls through their amazing garden!
Plan your “arts tour” to Madeline Island soon. For more information please call the Madeline Island Chamber office at 715-747-2801.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of Madeline Island School of the Arts.]