Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center News

Sturgeon Bay Street Art: A Celebration of Culture, Talent, and Tradition

Whether you’re an experienced artist, inspiring musician, or just a fan of creative expression, Door County is bound to pique your interest and leave you wanting more. With over 100 galleries, theaters, and museums as well as a vast offering of live music and festivals, art has a powerful impact on both life and culture in Door County. Best of all, each community has a unique way of expressing its love for art and Sturgeon Bay is no exception.

Now in its 15th year, the Sturgeon Bay Street Art Project serves as strong representation of artistic talent locally as well as nationally in the heart of Door County. Since its inception, the project has featured sails, lighthouses, free form art, and most notably, sturgeons. Hosted by the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, the Sturgeon Bay Street Art Project works to beautify the streets of the community and celebrate art from May through September leading up to the live auction following Harvest Festival.

If you haven’t embarked on this year’s Sturgeon Around the Bay Walking Tour, you’re missing out! Nineteen sturgeon and three free form creations await your discovery. With less than a month until the live auction, now is the time to peruse the display and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award. Sturgeon Street Art Maps are available at the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center and Door County Candy, this year’s Title Sponsor.

Can’t wait? Do you find yourself anxious to know more? Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect to find:

Baby Grand
Artist: Patricia Webster
Location: Door County Candy

Patricia Webster, a Sturgeon Bay resident for 30 years, has enjoyed participating in the Sturgeon Bay Street Art Project for seven years. Previous works of art have included  “The Lure of the Lyre Fish” (2014) and “Wind from the West, Fish Bite the Best” (2013). “All of my sturgeon have been interactive, inviting some type of participation from the viewer,” shares Webster. This year’s sturgeon combines an 8ft. fiberglass fish with a child’s baby grand piano. Decorative elements of the finished product were inspired by famous art cased pianos of the early 1900’s, giving it a regal, antique flair all its own. Stop by and tickle the keys — this Sturgeon will be music to your ears!

Artist: Brenda Keys
Location: On Deck

Local artist, Brenda Keys, created her fifth piece of Sturgeon Street Art this year titled “Woody.” Covered in hundreds of wooden disks from six species of trees — ash, bass, cedar, cherry, serviceberry, and lilac — this fish is remarkable! Cedar boughs add additional texture around the face and fins, which work nicely to compliment the wood discs. Previous works of art include “Dragon, Avenging God of the Sea” (2001), “Shimmer” (2012), "Joy" (2014), and “Leif” (2013), which featured 14 species of leafs.

The ABC’s of Door County
Artist: Barker YMCA Child Development Center
Location: Dancing Bear

“We wanted to share what makes this County special and put a childlike spin on it,” explains Jennifer Rogers of the YMCA Barker Development Center. Featuring animals, apple orchards, and iconic Door County landmarks such as lighthouses and the historic Steel Bridge, they’ve definitely accomplished their goal. Everything from ice cream cones to goats were designed using the hand and footprints of children age six months to five years. “The kids loved watching their prints transform into what they are now,” states Rogers. “What we enjoyed most about creating our sturgeon is the pride each child had when they told their parents about how they contributed. It was fun tickling hands and feet with paint brushes and spending extra one on one time with our students and coworkers.”

A Slice of Door County
Artist: Brian Knapton
Location: Cornucopia

Brian Knapton’s sturgeon, “A Slice of Door County,” has to be one of this year’s most interesting pieces! Brian began with a 4 1/2 ft. sturgeon form which he cut into sections, painted, and mounted onto a grill base. The end result is an interactive piece of Sturgeon Street Art that features a rotating spit and an impeccable paint job.

Stella the Sturgeon
Artist: David Franke
Location: Artists Guild

Four-time sturgeon artist, David Franke, was inspired by the work of Frank Stella for this year’s project. “One of Frank Stella’s styles was very colorful, hard-edged painting. The Wall Street Journal once described his paintings as ‘looking like a candy store exploded.’ I thought of this sturgeon as a roll of Life Savers on steroids while working on it,” shares Franke. And with five vivid bands of color enveloping this sturgeon, it looks just as he describes it.

Artist: Laura Heider
Location: Door County Maritime Museum

Featuring hundreds of decorative, carefully placed tiles, “Backsplash” by Laura Heider is a unique and well-designed creation. Previous works of street art by Laura include “Bent” (2013), “Stony Shores” (2014), and “Don’t be Koi” (2014), a collaborative effort with her sister, Tina Heider.

Artist: Tina Heider
Location: Sonny’s Pizzeria

Over 200 silver, casting spoons comprise this year’s sturgeon design by Tina Heider giving it dramatic texture and symmetry. Previous works of street art by Tina include “Copperhead” (2013), “Untitled” (2014), and “Don’t be Koi” (2014), a collaborative effort with her sister, Laura Heider.

The Chakra-Delics
Artist: Karin Miller Knutson
Locations: Fairfield Building (2 of 2) and Martin Park (1 of 2)

With over 10 years of experience as a Sturgeon Bay street artist, Karin Miller Knutson has been a strong asset to the program. This year, she undertook two fish with a theme based on chakras, the energy centers of the body. Mediums included acrylic and metallic paint, mosaic tile, and a high-gloss finish. Roughly two months of free time were dedicated to her craft in order to complete both pieces for this year’s display. Previous street art by Miller Knutson includes “Race to the Ferry” (2012) and “Steampunk Sturgeon” (2013). “I love people’s reactions to my work. Kids always love them,” she exclaims.

It’s a Trap
Artist: Jessica Deprey
Location: Frozen Spoon

Manitowoc, Wisconsin resident, Jessica Deprey, is a full-time, self-proclaimed computer and gadget geek. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting as a mixed media artist. While she is a long-time admirer of our street art project, this is her first year participating as an artist. The inspiration for her piece came from her love for all things eclectic alongside memories she has of her grandfather’s fishing lures and decoys. “The goal was to achieve the look of a vintage ice fishing decoy,” states Deprey. “The painting process was done in phases. First, a wood grain effect was created. Then a distressed folk art paint job was added followed by the final touches, an eye-bolt and metal fins.” If you love the look of vintage folk art, “It’s a Trap” will capture your heart!

Artist: Joan Mahoney
Location: Restaurant 136

“Good food and wine are such an important part of my life,” shares “Corkie” artist, Joan Mahoney. “I grew up in an Italian family, and I can recall so many pleasurable memories involving great company, incredible food, and of course, a bottle of wine to bring it all together.” As a keepsake, she started collecting corks to remind her of the fond memories she has. After upcycling her mementos into wreaths and trivets, Mahoney sought out another avenue to put her creativity to use which led her to come across the Sturgeon Street Art Project. Over 250 corks later, “Corkie” is an adorable work of art. “The most fun was applying the catchy phrases written on the corks to the most appropriate part of the sturgeon,” states Mahoney. So look closely when you see “Corkie” on the street — you’ll be surprised at just how much thought went into each cork placement.

Sturgem 3
Artist: Dan Danielson
Location: Gwendolyn’s

Dan Danielson, a resident of Wheaton, Illinois, returned this year after a brief break from the Sturgeon Bay Street Art Project. 2015 marks his third year of partaking in the project with all of his designs completed using hundreds of individually cut and attached tiles forming a mosaic of vibrant color that can’t be missed when traveling down Third Avenue.

Artist: Cherelle Maggle
Location: Monticello

Inspired by “Emerald,” an original work of Art Nouveau by Alphonse Mucha completed in 1900, Cherelle Maggle set the bar high and aimed to impress. “I consider Mucha one of the geniuses of the art world,” shares Maggle. In order to recreate Mucha’s stunning work of art, Maggle airbrushed the painting and finished it with automotive clear coat to withstand the elements. From start to finish, the entire process took her approximately 40 hours to complete. The result is a flawless interpretation of Mucha’s work that will undoubtedly make a statement wherever it is displayed. Previous Sturgeon Street Art by Maggle includes “My Domain” (2011), “Nighttime Steal” (2011), “Patriot” (2012), and “Orchards” (2014).

Why Land
Artist: Justin Deprey
Location: Stone Harbor Resort

Inspired by renowned marine life artist, Robert Wyland, Justin Deprey’s 2015 sturgeon features a tropical, underwater seascape. A beach scene complete with a lighthouse is depicted on the tail, while whales, sharks, sea turtles, and an assortment of fish swim down both sides of the sturgeon as well as the underbelly. With such precise attention to detail and depth, this is a piece of street art you simply must see in person. This year is Justin’s second year participating in the Sturgeon Bay Street Art Project following his 2014 Sturgeon, “Sturgeon Guided Lighthouse,” now on display at the Bay Shore Inn.

Olive Sturgeon Bay
Artist: Nicci Martin
Location: Bay Shore Outfitters and Alley Katz

Lake Poygan resident, Nicci Martin, truly loves Sturgeon Bay! In fact, she loves it so much she even named her 2015 Sturgeon Street Art, “Olive Sturgeon Bay!” A name that’s fitting considering her ties to the area and the olive design she painted on it. “My family is full of avid fishermen, so many excursions were taken to Sturgeon Bay over the years. It was, and still is, one of my favorite places to visit,” shares Martin. While it’s her first time participating in the SBVC Street Art Program, Martin is no stranger to street art. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of Nutcrackers on the Town, which is a Paine Art Center and Gardens citywide project in Oshkosh. It’s a joy to work on 3-D, large-scale projects like the sturgeon and nutcrackers. It really broadens my creativity.”

Night & Day: A Love Story
Artist: Jon Olson
Location: T. Simon Jewelers

As a child, Jon Olson grew up in Ellison Bay just miles from the tip of the Door County Peninsula. While he now resides in Andover Minnesota, his love for Door County remains strong. “Night & Day: A Love Story” is his first major work in 30 years, and it serves as a strong representation of both grief and happiness for him. As Olson states, “My work is a personal expression of emotion. It is a story of lost love, and loneliness followed by incredible movement, independence, and the promise of new beginnings.” Featuring two distinct water scenes with a rich color palette, Olson has done a fantastic job of conveying emotion, movement, and change.

Sturgeon Bay at Sunset
Artist: Ceal Swift
Location: 5th and Jefferson Coffee House

First time Sturgeon artist, Ceal Swift of New Canaan, Connecticut, received painting lessons from her sister as a 50th Birthday present. And from that day forward, painting has been her passion. However, it’s no surprise she’s artistically inclined. “My father, Curt Swan, was the illustrator of Superman comics for over four decades. I like to think he watches over me from above as I create each painting,” shares Swift. With a knack for seamlessly blending colors and creating warm, inviting images, we’re positive he couldn’t be more proud!

Sturgeon-Go-Round the Bay
Artist: Elaine Carmichael
Location: Northern Territory

Bold, bright, and fun best describe Elaine Carmichael’s “Sturgeon-Go-Round the Bay.” Featuring filigree designs, a saddle, and harness along with regal hues of teal, silver, and purple, it conveys childlike merriment of carnivals and merry-go-rounds!

King Calibre Sturgeon
Artist: Phil Uttech
Location: The Lodge at Leathem Smith

Designed with the realistic color and markings of a Salmon, “King Calibre Sturgeon” by Phil Uttech is quite the sight! Prior Sturgeon Street Art by Uttech includes “Geo Nemo” (2011) and “Poseidon (2012).

Coniferous Caviar
Artist: Walt Ash
Location: Door County Eye Associates & Sherry’s Hallmark

Walt Ash has done it again! Known for his ability to carve beautiful works of art, Walt undertook this year’s Sturgeon Street Art Project as a free form artist. As always, the end result is one that leaves everyone awestruck. Carved from white pine, “Coniferous Caviar” weighs approximately 150lbs. and took roughly 40 hours to complete.

Bucky the Bass (pictured at top)
Artist: Jeff Olson
Location: The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center

With the 2015 Toyota Bassmaster Championship taking place the same week as the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center’s annual Harvest Festival and Street Art Auction, Jeff Olson carved a bass from white cedar as a fantastic way of paying homage to both events. And while it’s a beautiful piece of art, the SBVC has decided to take it one step further by having the top 50 Bassmaster competitors autograph its base before it goes up for auction. If you love art and fishing, "Bucky the Bass" is an amazing catch!

Artist: Dylan Lauger
Location: Martin Park

As the founder, owner, and operator of Lauger Concrete in Sturgeon Bay, Dylan Lauger has made a name for himself as a concrete artisan in Door County. Known for elaborate concrete patterns, stains, and textures, his work adds a unique touch to both commercial and residential properties. Drawing upon his expertise and creativity, Lauger set out to design a one-of-a-kind free form sculpture for our 2015 street art display. And it goes without saying — he accomplished his goal! Crafted from steel rods, aluminum, and concrete, Lauger created a stunning top overflow water feature that will serve as the perfect addition to a garden, backyard, or green space.

Mark your calendar and don’t forget! The Sturgeon Bay Street Art Auction will take place Saturday, September 19, at Centerpointe Marina beginning at 5:30pm. For those who can’t make it to the auction, absentee bids are currently being accepted. Call the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center at 800.301.6695 or 920.743.6246 for additional information or to place a bid. All proceeds from the auction go to benefit the artists and the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, a nonprofit organization.