See Viroqua – Arts Initiative
See Viroqua is an arts-focused initiative of the Viroqua Chamber Main Street, and an opportunity for local artists to create posters that celebrate and promote Viroqua in 2021! Scroll to read more about each artist and poster below.
Zoe Craig is a printmaker, painter and ceramicist working in Viroqua, Wisconsin. In her artistic practice, she aims to explore and communicate themes of belonging, placemaking, sight and self, including the smaller and larger ways that we all interact with the natural world and the things in it.
Her See Viroqua print is inspired by the great fly fishing in the Viroqua area, and was loosely based on a favorite spot in Eagle Eye SNA. You can see more of her work at zoefrancescraig.com
Natalie Hinahara is a Wisconsin born and raised painter, printmaker, and muralist living in Viroqua, WI. Her work is informed by the landscapes, ecosystems, and living beings of the Great Lakes and Driftless Regions of the Midwest. She is primarily a printmaker and painter, but enjoys exploring the realms of textile, jewelry, and public art. In her prints and paintings, she marvels at the beauty and wisdom of plants, wonders what it means to be both a part of and apart from the natural word, and imagines what it would feel like to live in a society that respects and loves the plants, animals, and humans that nourish us every day.
Her woodcut print “Community Care” was inspired by the generosity and love offered in the form of you-pick fruit, veggie, and flower gardens. There are a few front yards in Viroqua that consistently grow zinnias and veggies that are available to any passerby who might need a little nourishment and beauty in their day.
Rena Medow is a philosophy student, freelance artist and writer living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has roots in the Driftless area and has always drawn inspiration from the natural beauty of the region. This painting was inspired by long walks and bike rides from Viroqua to Lower Maple Dale over the years. Sunsets, fire lilies and deer are featured as well as the iconic round barn. Rena used gauche and acrylic on a wooden board.
You can find her work on instagram: @rena.issance_ or on her website: renamedow.com.
Ryan Rothweiler is a muralist originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has lived in the Viroqua area for the past ten years. He is mainly a self taught artist with some studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark, Wisconsin.
Gabriela J Marván is a graphic designer and artist from Cuernavaca, Mexico. She studied at Universidad Metropolitana from Mexico City, with a specialty on media design at the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico City, having as well some studies in Mexican Folk Art at the Center of Arts of Morelos State and Museum of Folk Art in Morelos State. She mainly works with paper maché sculptures and digital art.
The work of Ryan and Gabriela are together in this poster, creating a traditional typography giving a contrast between present and past with the color palette and graphics. They have been married for almost five years and have collaborated together in some of their projects.
Kathie Wheeler is a representational oil painter whose work is inspired by the people and places in her life. She grew up in the Chicago area and studied at the American Academy of Art and now lives on a small farm with her husband in the beautiful Driftless area of Wisconsin.
Kathie is a lifelong student of painting and she loves to pass on her passion to others. She is a signature member of Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society and American Women Artists, as well as an associate member of the Portrait Society of America.
Kathie and her husband Tom were lured to the beauty of these hills and valleys 26 years ago and raised their two children here. This poster was inspired by the work of Vernon Trails that has added so much to this community. While Kathie mainly works with oil paint on linen, this piece is done in acrylic on gesso board.
History & Prompt
Between 1936 and 1943, the Works Projects Administration (WPA) hired out-of-work artists to produce more than 2,000 posters promoting our National Parks, local events, and public health messaging including the now iconic series of “See America” travel posters. Today, this project is considered to be one of the first US Government programs to support the arts. More than 900 posters from this period are archived at the Library of Congress, and all are in the public domain. What might a set of posters promoting Viroqua look like? And how wonderful would it be to financially support some of our local artists during this unprecedentedly difficult time?
With support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Arts Wisconsin, The Viroqua Chamber Main Street commissioned six local artists to create five unique posters celebrating and promoting Viroqua.