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Big Arts Happy Hour in Stockholm features artists, music, wine and beer

The tiny village of Stockholm, Wis.,, population 66, found itself with an unusual problem: too many artists, too little space.

“We have so many talented artists in the Stockholm area that we were running out of ways to feature their work,” said Amanda Scholz of the Stockholm Merchants Association. “Even with the high number art galleries and boutiques in the village, we wanted to do more to support our local artists. Then we hit on a solution: a series of art strolls.”

The next art stroll — a villagewide happy hour with artists, musicians, beverages and snacks— will be 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. Admission is free.

“Stockholm’s slogan is ‘Small Village, Big Arts,’ so we’re calling the event a ‘Big Arts Happy Hour,’” Scholz said. “It creates an outlet for us to focus on arts in rural communities. We want people to know that yes, we may be a tiny village, but we honor the work that’s happening right here.

“Besides,” she added, “who doesn’t like some free snacks and drinks on a Friday evening?”

At Scholz’s shop, the Purple Turtle Artisan Collective, Pepin photographer and writer Carol Inderieden will be on hand to show her work in progress: a series of photogravure prints depicting images of Lake Pepin and Maiden Rock Bluff. Inderieden, whose work has been shown in galleries across the country, will offer a “sneak peek” of her new book project on the natural history and restoration of Maiden Rock Bluff.

Sandy Wagener, proprietor of Sandy’s Clothing and Art, sees the art stroll happy hour as an opportunity to connect her customers with the artists featured in her shop. She has invited Stockholm artist Kristin Smith-Procter to display her silk batik scarves as well as the “upcycled” scarves that she transforms into lavender-filled eye pillows. Smith-Procter started anb organic lavender garden two years ago and now sells lavender-based products around the area.

“It’s fun to show off our artists,” Wagener said. “And it’s a long-term benefit for the community. When we have things like this going on, people want to come back and visit us more often.”

Wagener will also highlight jeweler Heather Lawrenz, who will demonstrate her intricate jewelry-making process. Outside the shop, indie rock singer-songwriter Mogy will perform in Sandy’s garden.

“Since Stockholm is only two blocks long, Mogy can pretty much serenade the entire village,” Wagener said.

Down the street at Abode Gallery & Design, shop owner Alan Nugent will host a wine-and-cheese reception for the fifth of six group art shows he’s held since April. Each show has a uniting theme — river, wood, fiber, animal — and the upcoming show will be “Word.”

Internationally celebrated painter Dougie Padilla, who recently moved his studio from Minneapolis to Pepin, will be present to discuss his work, along with other highly regarded regional artists, including poet and mystery writer Mary Logue, author John Barbetta, painter Dietrich Sieling and interactive installation creator Kevin Dobbe.

Char Harris Scherer, who runs a yarn and fine crafts boutique called Hugga Bugga, is taking the word “craft” to another level — as in craft beer. She’ll offer samples of beers recommended by her son Jason, an area beer distributor.

The General Store and the Stockholm Pie Company, next door to Abode Gallery, will be open late for the Big Arts Happy Hour.

Only one art stroll participant is not within walking distance: the Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery is a short drive up the hill, near the bluffs that overlook the Mississippi. Owners Carol Wiersma and Herdie Baisden will serve the wine and ciders they make with apples from their 80-acre orchard. Their featured artist will be Pepin painter Kwong Yem Han, better known to her neighbors as Edna Hovde.

“We’ll have a large collection of Edna’s pieces on display that evening,” Wiersma said. “Edna is famous for her Chinese ‘big brush’ technique, and we have a painting that she created on site here.”

Hovde will explain her painting techniques to visitors during the art stroll.

“I love that this give us a way to unite with friends and visitors around art,” Scholz said. “It's important that we continue to foster the arts in our area, not just for economic reasons but for the quality of life that comes with a community that holds the arts in high regard.”