Among the farm fields and historic downtowns, you will be pleasantly surprised at the fabulous Jefferson County art scene. Poets and artists have call Jefferson County home. Plein Air artists create using the beautiful landscape, metal sculptures dot the Glacial River bike trail, murals provide a historical backdrop, watch fire blazing from a sculpture being fired in the park and visit with artist at their rural studios. The arts are engrained in our culture and bring an invaluable amount of enjoyment and richness to our communities.
Poet Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970) spent most of her life on Blackhawk Island in Fort Atkinson and was inspired by the serenity of her surroundings. Niedecker’s poetry is known for its focus on natural landscapes of Wisconsin especially waterscapes. She is regarded as a major figure in the history of American regional poetry, the Objectivist poetic movement, and the mid-20th-century American poetic avant-garde. Learn more at The Friends of Lorine Niedecker.
Cambridge is home to the Rosebud Magazine which is the self-described national venue which supplies an eclectic supply of quality, new and under-appreciated writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
The Pottery Boom
Photo by Jon Junge
With the popularity of Rowe Pottery Work’s salt-glazed pottery in the 1980’s, many potters were drawn to our area. Our artists welcome you to their rural studios for the Spring Pottery Tour and fall Earth Wood & Fire tours. Our artists come together at the summertime Midwest Fire Fest where a large kiln in built onsite, a sculpture is fired during the week and the final product is revealed on Saturday night with flames spitting out the top and every opening of the sculpture. It is nothing like you have ever seen before.
Plein Air Arts
There has been an explosion of plein air artists due to the annual Jefferson Plein Air organized by the Arts Alliance of Greater Jefferson. Plein air artists are invited to capture Jefferson’s historic buildings, churches, and landscapes June 23-25. The paintings are available for sale at a gallery June 26-27.
The Fireside Dinner Theatre is one of the Midwest’s most popular entertainment destinations and the only Actor’s Equity dinner theatre in Wisconsin. Offering shows throughout the year and known for their fabulous food be sure to check out their vast array of show offerings including Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as their many Christian and tribute concerts.
The Gobbler Theater is an extraordinary venue, formerly known as the historic Gobbler Supper Club in Johnson Creek, the space has been transformed into cool and groovy Gobbler Theater. The space is so unique and has a rotating bar and iconic pink and purple chairs. They have added a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and stadium seating which makes for an intimate live music experience you will not soon forget.
The Council for the Performing Arts is the largest venue in the area that can seat up to 1,000 people. This beautiful venue showcases and educates the community about theatre, dance, and music.
Additionally, the Cambridge-Deerfield Players Theater Inc offers the opportunity to participate in and enjoy all facets of community theater. The mission for the CD Players is to support productions and projects that augment and enhance the artistic experience for all who participate, whether on stage, behind the scenes or in the audience.
Art walks and trails
Bronze sculptures dot the Glacial River bike Trail in Fort Atkinson. The city’s beautiful bike and pedestrian trail along the Glacial River Bike Trail runs directly through our historic downtown, which can also be used for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter. The bike trail features a series of bronze sculptures and offers scenic views of farmsteads, prairie flowers, wetlands, woods, streams, and a rustic, red covered bridge built with recycled timber.
There is also an abundance of unique sculptures all around the restaurant and patio at the riverfront Heron’s Landing in Jefferson.
Watertown Mural Walk. Since the dawn of time, man has been painting signs on structures. Be it an ancient pictograph or an ad for cigarettes, the mural, especially the advertising mural, has been with us for centuries. Our early pioneers recognized this when they began to settle in Watertown in the 1830s and 1840s. They used the sides of buildings and trees as spots to post signs and broadsides. Photos were taken in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and show the city decorated with posters and largely painted advertisements on almost every available building along Main Street. Take a walk down Main Street to seethe murals conveniently located throughout downtown. A Tour of Murals & Ghost Signs with a map is available on the WatertownChamber.com website. Mural brochure and map
Artist Thomas Mertain once said “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” We wish you a wonderful time finding yourself and losing yourself in Jefferson County!