Lake Superior’s South Shore area may be better known as the gateway for sightseeing and exploring natural wonders, but one of the most pleasant surprises that the region holds is that it is also a lively hub for arts and crafts.
It makes sense when you think about it – Bayfield’s natural beauty is just the right kind of environment to inspire and cultivate creativity in all its forms.
If you want to experience this area’s thriving arts scene, here are a few highlights you should check out:
- Galleries galore
With 14 galleries and studio-workshops across the county, the question art-lovers need to ask in Bayfield is not where to go, but where to start.
Stone’s Throw and the Bayfield Artists Guild are easy favorites; the former being a must-visit destination for fun and eclectic trinkets and collectibles, and the latter a beloved destination that showcases the best creations from homegrown talents. The Guild is also a great way to personally get to know the artists, with a different one tending the place each day.
If you’re looking for distinctive Lake Superior mementos, be sure to stop by Silverwaves Jewelry in Bayfield. Owner and metal artist Lissa Fleming creates one of a kind jewelry using regional stones and 100% reclaimed sterling silver, with each piece capturing a moment in time. She also offers custom jewelry design, perfect for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or just because
Add the Bates Art Bar to your itinerary. This eclectic art gallery resides in an early 20th century renovated bar that showcases over 50 local artists. Stop in to view the grand old bar that is still intact, although they are not serving alcohol anymore, come admire the tin ceilings and see a pinhole of Bayfield history.
- One of the best art schools in the US
Bayfield’s strong art influence spills across Lake Superior to nearby Madeline Island, where the Madeline Island School of the Arts delivers top-notch art and craft workshops and classes. Subjects include painting, photography, mixed media, writing, and many more, with a roster of world-renowned instructors at the helm.
The best part about this school is probably the accommodations; students can stay on this unique island and fully immerse and find inspiration in its lush natural settings. There’s no wonder it’s considered one of the Top 5 art schools in the country.
The island is home to its own fair share of galleries where local artists can showcase their wares for spectators from Bayfield and beyond.
- A season-long music and culture festival
A northern Wisconsin staple since 1986, the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua is one of the state’s biggest draws during the summer. Accommodating 900 guests for a season-long celebration of music and culture, the festival features local, national, and international entertainers which have included Willie Nelson, B.B. King, the Beach Boys, and Johnny Cash.
Big Top Chautauqua also offers cultural workshops and camps for kids during the daytime, guaranteeing fun for all ages.
- Lake Superior Day celebrated through art
The Bayfield Festival of the Arts is another can’t-miss event. With a long history that stretches back over 50 years, this event celebrates Lake Superior Day – held annually on the third Sunday of July – through the talents of its brilliant art community. Events include art auctions, local gallery tours, and many more fine art displays and sales.