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Amid pandemic Artstreet moving to road show

By Heather Graves

GREEN BAY – For nearly four decades, artists have filled the streets of downtown Green Bay for one weekend every August for Artstreet.

However, this year, the uncertainty of COVID-19 has squashed those plans.

“Cancelling Artstreet was a tough decision, but we felt it was the smartest and safest decision to make,” said Silvija Jensen, executive director of Mosaic Arts, Inc., the nonprofit that organizes the annual event. “So while it was tough, it was also the right thing to do.”

But while the well-known three-day event isn’t happening this year, Mosaic Arts is adapting, offering artists an opportunity to still showcase their work with the first Artstreet Road Show.

“One of our board members came up with the idea with other board members chiming in,” Jensen said. “Before we knew it, the idea of a road show or art crawl was born. We still wanted to give artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell and move Artstreet on the road.”

Jensen said the road show allows artists and visitors to spread out.

Artist Olivia Crocker, 16, admits she was disappointed Artstreet was cancelled, but also agrees it was the right decision.

Crocker said she is thrilled the Artstreet Road Show will still allow her to share her pieces with the public.

“I have been experimenting with different styles using ink,” she said. “It’s still important to hold an event like this, considering the countless hours artists have poured into their works. Art is also a great stress relief during these times.”

Details are still unfolding, but for the Artstreet Road Show, artists will take charge of their own exhibit location and space – whether that be their home, front yard, driveway, gallery or garage.

Jensen said artists who are not comfortable with exhibiting in their homes can partner with locals businesses, galleries or other artists.

She said there have already been a number of artists and businesses stepping forward to offer up space.

“We’ve had several people open up their yards to out-of-town artists, which we are so thankful for,” Jensen said.

Gregory Frederic, from CrewlArt Studio in Suamico, has been participating in Artstreet for six years, and plans to participate in this year’s Artstreet Road Show.

“I will be exhibiting at the Artstreet 2020 Road Show to give an opportunity for art patrons to support what I create,” he said. “At my studio, patrons will see where my art originates and get a short demonstration.”

Frederic has also offered space for those artists looking for a spot to set up.

“I stepped up to offer my yard, because I have the space to safely distance people,” he said. “Other artists may need an area to sell their artwork with Artstreet being cancelled as well. It has been a difficult year for artists with art fairs cancelled and most galleries closed across the nation. Those of us with studio/gallery space can kindly offer to partner with other local artists.”

The show will take visitors throughout the Greater Green Bay area – including Bellevue, Green Bay, Howard, Suamico, De Pere, Ashwaubenon and Allouez.

Each artist will have a yard sign to help visitors find them.

A map will also be available to help navigate visitors through the show.

There will be a free prize drawing for attendees with three cash prizes – $50, $100 and $250.

There is no cost to participate.

More information on the Road Show as it becomes available can be found at mosaicartsinc.org.

“Art helps people escape reality for awhile,” Jensen said. “We hope this gives people the opportunity to immerse themselves in some beautiful art, purchase some and have fun. It won’t be the same Artstreet that we have all come to know and love, but at least people can enjoy beautiful fine arts in a safer environment.”

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