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CREATE Portage County Brings Art Downtown | The Pointer – The Pointer

Posted by: Erin Henze November 11, 2022
Editor’s note: Because of staffing issues early in the fall 2022 semester, several stories that were completed in a timely fashion were unfortunately not published when they should have been. Because Pointer staff members still feel them to be important for-the-record stories, we are publishing them as we can without shifting their focus from the time period in which they should have run.  The Pointer regrets the delay.
On September 14, CREATE Portage County hosted the ArtsWalk and Night Market in downtown Stevens Point, helping to showcase the local artists in the area. Along the streets, artists set up shop and displayed information and products, featuring anything from custom t-shirts to themed prints and wood carvings.
One such artist was Jessie Fritsch, a local business owner and UWSP graduate. Fritsch specializes in an art style called encaustics, where she paints using bee’s wax.
“It’s this nichey kind of thing,” Fritsch said. “I make bee’s wax paintings, and I sell them across the Midwest.”
Fritsch’s work has expanded past encaustics, though. She has added work as a mural artist to her resume thanks to CREATE, with whom she collaborated with to create the Ruth Bader Ginsberg mural in downtown Stevens Point.
Fritsch also recently opened a business called Buzz in Art, a teaching studio located in Arnott, WI. Here she will teach interested students about encaustics, as well as feature other local artists teaching their own styles.
“I’ll be teaching my wax workshops there four days a month,” Fritsch said. “Other artists will be teaching in that space as well.”
Collaborating and supporting the art community in Stevens Point is a big part of Fritsch’s life.
“The art community is really important to me,” Fritsch said. “That’s why I come to ArtsWalk and support CREATE, to support my community.”
The art community in Stevens Point is a strong one, with a variety of studios, shops, and art events happening throughout the year.
“There’s so many talented artists in Stevens Point,” Fritsch said. “I didn’t grow up here, but I came to school here, fell in love with the art program, and then fell in love with the town.”
Many people contribute the thriving artist population in Stevens Point to being a college town. Local resident Laura Mattson happened across ArtsWalk and the Night Market by chance but wasn’t surprised to find it.
“I think [with Stevens Point] being a university town, there’s a lot of different cool things because of that,” Mattson said. “There’s some really talented people in central Wisconsin. It’s a great thing for people to come out and see […], making people aware that there’s stuff going on around [here] and there’s really cool artists in all kinds of different things.”
A more permanent art display in downtown Stevens Point is Gallery Q, a co-op of local artists. Artist Justine Pawelski has been part of the co-op since it first opened in 2009. Events like the ArtsWalk help to bring attention to Gallery Q and the local artists that share their work there.
“I notice that there’s a lot of people in here,” Pawelski said. “I always assume that if people come to visit, they at least know we’re here. ArtsWalk helps get people to focus a little more on downtown.”
More art events are always happening in the Stevens Point area. The Hidden Studios Art Tour will feature artists and their studios along the Ice Age Trail, occurring September 30 through October 2. Other events include a Play with Clay exhibit at Gallery Q, recurring daily until October 28 and the “My Favorite _____” community photo exhibit at the Annette and Dale Schuh Riverfront Arts Center, recurring daily until October 16.
Erin Henze
Arts and Entertainment Reporter
November 11, 2022
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