Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center News

Art Invasion in Downtown Sturgeon Bay

New art projects abound, in the air and on the ground, this summer in Sturgeon Bay. Artists from Door County, Wisconsin and Illinois worked all winter to create their interpretations of Sturgeon Bay, and project them onto either canvas or an Adirondack-style bench.

These two new street art projects – “Sites in the City” and “Benches by the Bay” – are now out in the public spaces of downtown Sturgeon Bay. The 2’x4’ canvases that artists painted in their chosen medium have been transferred onto vinyl banners and are hung on light poles around the City. Artists depicted what they appreciate most about Sturgeon Bay, and the subjects of their paintings are incredibly diverse. The Michigan Street Bridge, lighthouses, skateboarders, the gigantic gnome, St. Joseph Catholic Church, and a wide variety of other scenes were juried, and 25 were chosen to go onto the light poles.

“The artists outdid themselves with their interpretations of what they appreciate about our city,” said Pam Seiler, Executive Director, Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center. “The diversity of subjects is fantastically fun, and our businesses are excited to display the art in their stores.”

The top three paintings were chosen by the panel of judges and were announced at the Sturgeon Bay Fine Art Fair this past May. The top three selected pieces were "The Alpena" by Rick Brawner, 1st Place, "My Paris" by Patricia Webster, 2nd Place, and "The Michigan Street Bridge" by Ken Klopack, 3rd Place. All of the original canvases are currently exhibited at sponsoring Sturgeon Bay businesses during the summer and raffled off August 15. Raffle tickets may be purchased at Artists Guild, Bay Shore Outfitters, Bank of Luxemburg, Frozen Spoon, Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, and T. Simon Jewelers. Click HERE for full viewing of all of the original pieces available for purchase via raffle. 

Benches by the Bay is the newest interpretation of the City’s 3-dimensional art on the streets. The sturgeon are taking a hiatus as the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center explores this new project. Artists used either the blank canvas of a two-seat, Adirondack-style cedar bench made by John Rosenthal and Glen VanderVelden, tech education teachers at Sturgeon Bay and Southern Door Schools, respectively, or crafted their own from a variety of materials. These weather resistant benches will be on display around the city throughout the summer. Like the sturgeon, lighthouses, and sails of years past, the benches will be auctioned off at a live auction following Harvest Festival, Saturday, September 17 beginning at 5:30 pm. Proceeds from the auction benefit the artists and the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center.  Click HERE for full viewing of all of the benches. Absentee bid forms are available by clicking HERE and are accepted through Friday, September 16th at 3:00 pm. 

“The creativity of these benches astounded our SBVC staff,” said Seiler. “Old parts upcycled into a functional form, rocks scavenged and turned into beauty, and the paintings, they just took our breath away. Not only are the benches great street art, they will be a fun, and functional, addition to someone’s yard, or in front of a business.”

Maps with locations of all the artwork are available at various lodging, dining, and retail establishments, as well as at the SBVC brochure room at 36 S. Third Avenue.

The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Sturgeon Bay as a premier community to live, shop, and play through citywide beautification efforts, festivals, events, and economic growth. For more info about the banners or benches, call the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center: 920-743-6246 or visit the SBVC at 36 S. Third Avenue.