Artstreet moves to Ashwaubenon after growing pains with Green Bay
By Heather Graves
ASHWAUBENON – After filling the streets of downtown Green Bay for four decades, Artstreet – an annual event organized by Mosaic Arts, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the arts in Greater Green Bay – is moving to Ashwaubomay Park in Ashwaubenon.
And though it’s a move filled with possibilities, it isn’t one that was necessarily in the immediate plans for the downtown-tenured event.
“We want Artstreet to continue — bottom line,” Mosaic Arts employee Molly Carey said.
Looking at the future of the event, Carey said all options were considered and organizers did not see how it was possible to expand downtown.
“This decision was not made lightly,” she said. “How would people react? Then, after 40-plus years, changing location is a huge risk and not everyone would agree. Mosaic looked at it as an opportunity like no other, for the whole community to be a part of an event that can grow.”
Carey said each year, the limitations of downtown Green Bay became greater.
“There was more development, which is so wonderful for the community, but really had an effect on the event,” she said. “Streets were unable to be used, due to being a residential area and businesses needed accessibility when they were in operation.”
Looking long term, Carey said there also wasn’t a guarantee that space would continue to be available.
She said instead of risking whether downtown Green Bay would be able to “accommodate our dedicated Artstreet participants or even be able to hold the event, we thought ahead and moving to a new location was really the only option.”
Carey said in the end, the decision was best for the future of the event but the downtown area is not happy.
“They also are not offering another solution for the future – for the artists, for musicians, for the food trucks, for all,” she said. “Perhaps if they came up with something as an option, Mosaic would have been more than happy to listen. Meetings were requested. We couldn’t wait and had to make a decision.”
Carey said she understands there is no other option.
“Broadway has their events, but they are not to the degree of Artstreet,” she said. “There is no space for them to create an event of this magnitude. We really do not want to cause any problems, there is just no other solution. If there is a problem, you fix it… Once again, we can not focus on the political or the location. We have to look at the event as a whole. The artists suffer if the popular event is not being held. That right there is our concern. Mosaic has to do everything possible to make sure the event can be put on – for the artists and for the community.”
Mosaic Arts board member Carol Faltynski thanked the City of Green Bay and downtown businesses for their support through the years.
“It was wonderful to be downtown,” she said. “Our organization, the artists, vendors and the public have a lot of good memories from our 40 years there. Now we’re looking forward to creating new memories as we grow in our new location.”
Carey said during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mosaic Arts did look at holding the event elsewhere and a location in Ashwaubenon was discussed.
“Ashwaubomay Park was a place considered,” she said. “We looked at the fact that it had the asphalt walkway (imitating streets), large areas for people to gather and stay, parking down the road, beautiful scenic backdrop of the river and the availability to bring new exciting opportunities to the event.”
Faltynski said the additional space will also allow for a few new features, which will be announced in the coming months.
“One new item we can share is that we will have professional sand sculptors at Artstreet this year who will be creating some amazing sculptures along Ashwaubomay Lake,” she said. “It will be exciting to see them work and watch the sand sculptures come to life.”
Carey said every location, no matter where, has its limitations.
“Parking, entrances, streets, etc. – our job as an organization is to do what we can to accommodate those limitations,” she said. “We want this to be looked at as a positive rather than a negative. Patrons are still going to be brought into all parts of the area, including downtown.”
This year’s event is set for Aug. 26-28.