Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Katy Macek

Eau Claire boasts no shortage of artistic spaces

  • mw-taste-1a-091517

    Sue and Jeff Picard of Eau Claire sample food from Forage during the First Taste Culinary Crawl on September 14, 2017, on the third floor of Banbury Place's building 13.

    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik
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Is there too much of a good thing?

Not when that thing is art — and right now Eau Claire is chock-full of it.

This week I had the opportunity to visit with one of the owners of Art on the Ridge, a new art market and workshop space at 525 Park Ridge Court, near Rod & Gun Park.

Bobbie DeVoll told me how she and her sister started the space in January on a whim — DeVoll and her husband, who own the facility, were going to rent out rooms.

Thank goodness they didn’t. Traveling through the various bright-colored rooms to view a recent class’ completed acrylic pour canvases, I could tell the space fit. Not just for the artists, but for the city as well.

DeVoll’s sister, Shelly Swerman, an interior designer, also is very talented at making clocks. I nearly bought one of them on the spot.

I also was impressed with the variety of workshops they were offering. DeVoll said they have everything from the more traditional wood signs and canvas painting classes to potting your own succulent and decorating its container.

Between places such as Cheers Pablo, Blue Boxer Arts, Forage and others, there is no shortage of art (and food, in the case of Forage) classes in Eau Claire. These are boundless opportunities for community members to pick up a paint brush, put on an apron and try a new activity.

There is no excuse not to dabble in something new when we live in a space that practically puts the tools under our noses.

It’s not the first art market in Eau Claire, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

But DeVoll said she doesn’t want to compete with places such as Artisan Forge Studios, which she thinks is doing an incredible job drawing fine art into the community.

She simply wants Art on the Ridge to be another option, a place for different artists who, perhaps, have yet to find a home.

I’d imagine, when a city is so full of art, there are many artists who go unnoticed. Hopefully places such as Art on the Ridge can put more local artists on the map.

As for the markets, DeVoll does ask artists to register so they know how many to expect and what type of space they’ll need, but she said the market is open to anyone who creates arts and crafts.

The business’ next art market is Saturday, May 5, and 10 artists will have a wide variety of work on display for guests to browse and purchase.

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