School of the Arts at Rhinelander creates a sense of place

woman writing by the lake
Painting by the lake at School of the Arts at Rhinelander. Photo by Daryl Youngstrum.
For over 50 years, School of the Arts at Rhinelander has fostered creativity in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. The 2015 event, held July 17-19, features workshops in visual arts, culinary arts, mind/body/spirit, performing arts, and writing. Part of its appeal is the distinctive setting, which inspires instructors to design one-of-a-kind courses.
“The Northwoods is largely undeveloped, and it still holds on to the feeling of solitude,” says Phil Ziesemer, who will teach “The Ins and Outs of Still Life Photography.” “There is a tremendous amount of green space to visit and employ in our compositions. The quiet we enjoy encourages creativity.”
Ziesemer has taught at School of the Arts since 2011, and he considers it a special place.
“The tone is one of happiness and camaraderie,” he says. “The students are excited about learning new techniques, and the instructors are eager to share. Where else does a diverse group of people gather for an educational experience that is so much fun? I never walk away from the school as the same person who arrived a few days earlier.”

A nest in the Northwoods

Wade Fernandez is a touring musician and recording artist who has taught Native American-style flute at School of the Arts for four years. He believes this instrument embodies Wisconsin’s Northwoods, where he grew up on the Menominee Nation Reservation.
“School of the Arts at Rhinelander is unique because it creates a safe and nurturing nest in the Northwoods,” says Fernandez, who will teach beginning and advanced workshops in “Finding Your Voice Through the Native Flute.”  “It provides students with a vision to see the possibilities of art within themselves.”

"Fall Favorites" by Phil Ziesemer.
“Fall Favorites” by Phil Ziesemer.
Fiber artist Laurie Ceesay will teach a workshop on creating portrait quilts at this year’s School of the Arts. Like her fellow instructors, she finds the setting conducive to creative experimentation.
“Rhinelander is a great yet small artsy community,” she says. “Everyone is welcoming, and the other artists are very kindhearted.”
School of the Arts at Rhinelander offers workshops pitched at varying levels, so participants can create at the pace that’s right for them. Everyone is welcome, from newcomers to professionals. For more information, contact Lynn Tarnoff, ltarnoff@dcs.wisc.edu, 608-890-1424.