shake rag alley news

July news

July 2020

Greetings from Shake Rag Alley! Since we reopened in June following health and safety guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been enjoying welcoming students and instructors back safely for small-scale arts and crafts workshops, overnight guests to our charming lodging accommodations, and participants to our community programs and events. Although we’ve had to cancel our annual Woodlanders Gathering this month, there are still plenty of ways to engage with Shake Rag Alley in person or from home.

As of today, 50% of our July adult workshops are scheduled to proceed with reduced class sizes and in compliance with our COVID-19 protocols, or virtually. Our July Youth Program features eight unique arts and crafts workshops and our Free Arts Camp focusing on caring for animals — all available via alternative delivery. Class art kits are available for curbside pickup or mail delivery with companion video or Zoom instruction. Any kits leftover after the date of a schedule class are available for purchase in the Youth Program Marketplace.

We continue to be grateful to everyone for their patience and support as we work to deliver arts and crafts education during these coronatimes. We continue to apply for federal, state, and local disaster relief funding, and would be grateful for your help sustaining our general operations and preserving and maintaining our historic campus. Please consider making a one-time donation or setting up a monthly recurring donation today. Thank you!

join us for our july events

In preparation for our rescheduled NEA Big Read of Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, Shake Rag Alley is hosting a series of virtual community conversations relevant to ideas explored in the book. These 1.5-hour Zoom meetings will give us a chance to explore issues Rankine addresses before taking a deep dive into the text this fall. This week, we’ll look at Mineral Point history through the lens of race. For more information, click the button  below or call our office at (608) 987-3292.

This month’s Driftless Poets Workshop will be meeting outside on the large and open Green on the Shake Rag Alley campus to safely share our work in an open mic format. Bring a bagged lunch.

New poets are always welcome, but an RSVP is appreciated. To join this month’s meeting, email us or call (608) 987-3292. For more information and resources, click here.

Join us for this month’s Women’s Art Party and cast cement leaves – with paint! These make great items for garden or porch display. Make a leaf casting, and learn techniques to paint the leaf, all in one session!

For the first part of the project we will cast cement leaves. Bring a leaf if you have one in mind, otherwise we will have some to choose from. Curing takes from two days to a week, so plan to leave yours in place on campus for picking up later. Next, we will have your second leaf already cast and ready to paint. Using this leaf, Cindy will deliver a lesson on painting. You’ll take this information with you and apply it to your own beautiful leaf once it is cured and ready … so you’ll have two leaves in all!

This session will be outdoors (sorry, no Zoom option is available this month). All materials provided, but bring some sturdy gloves (yellow dishwashing gloves are ideal) if you have them, and a mask. Project fee: $5. Additional materials fee: $5.

 If you have any questions, please call our office: (608) 987-3292.

save these august dates

Our beloved family friendly Tour of Fairy Homes returns Aug. 1, which is Mineral Point’s first Gallery Night of 2020. Safely explore the 2.5 acres of the Shake Rag Alley campus to discover original fairy homes built especially for this tour. (Think small, really small!) Each home will be situated in a special spot on-site for your viewing pleasure at this fundraiser for our nonprofit school of arts and crafts. If you fall in love with one, you will be able to bid for it in a Silent Auction.

Free make-your-own-fairy-house kits are still available if you’d like to design a home for this year’s tour. Email us to schedule a time to pick up your kit. Finished homes will need to be returned to Shake Rag Alley by July 27 to be included on the tour.

Come on out to the Lind Pavilion for the Summer Garage Sale to support Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts. Piles of art supplies and materials as well as donated household and collector items will be ready to relocate!

Sale hours are 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, and 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. Masks and social distancing will be required, and capacity will be limited to 10 people at a time on either side of the pavilion. 

DONATIONS WELCOME: Staff will be available to accept donations in the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St., Aug. 10-12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or sooner by appointment Monday-Friday. To schedule, please call our office at (608) 987-3292.

NEW items added to artisan marketplace

Two oil and cold wax paintings by Jim Scherbarth – Shapeshifter and Paradigm Shift V – are available for purchase, as well as Welded Eagle, a sculpture by Richard Anderson, and Gentle John from the Bankside Waterway of Thistledown Town, a charming polymer clay sculpture by Maureen Carlson. Purchases support the artists and Shake Rag Alley.

mover & shaker of the month: john sharp

The next honoree in our Shake Rag Alley Mover & Shaker Club series is John Sharp, an award-winning wood carving artist whose rustic talents are visible throughout our campus. Over the years John has taught wood carving during Woodlanders, built sturdy worktables we lovingly refer to as “Sharp tables,” cut the giant wood cookies that serve as the stairs between the Lind Pavilion and Cabinet Shop, and kept us stocked in wood cookies large and small for future fairy homes. John and his wife, Jennifer, have donated their gardening knowledge to Shake Rag Alley for years, and have hosted many Woodlanders miniature boat races and bonfires at their Mineral Point home (that’s John and a scarecrow friend at last year’s gathering). 

Thank you, John, for being a Shake Rag Alley mover and shaker!  

shake rag alley in the news

Thanks to the volunteerism of master gardeners of Iowa County, one of Wisconsin’s newest certified Monarch Waystations is at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts as featured in this month’s Voice of the River Valley magazine.

In 2018, Master Gardener Harriet Ridnour had an idea, and Master Gardener Jane Stenson had the energy to apply for a $400 grant from the Wisconsin Master Gardener organization to purchase plants to develop two of the 20 garden beds on the 2.5-acre Shake Rag Alley campus into monarch butterfly gardens.


Thanks to Chicago-based freelancer and past Shake Rag Alley Writing Retreat participant Nicole Schnitzler, we were recently featured in Conde Nast Traveler’s roundup of favorite day trips from the Windy City.


youth program gallery

We love to receive photos from students and are delighted to share these gems from some of our littlest Shake Raggers, who’ve been enjoying our Youth Programarts and crafts kits at home.

If you have photos or stories to share, please send us an email or tag us in photos you post on Facebook or Instagram so that we may share the creative inspiration of our community.

Shake Rag Alley’s youth programs are supported in part by grants from Mineral Point Community Chest and United Fund of Iowa County. Thank you!

Please consider helping Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts to:

  • provide educational experiences in visual, performing, and literary arts to adults and children
  • cultivate the creativity that thrives in our rural community
  • rehabilitate and preserve our historic buildings and rustic campus.

Click Here to discover various ways you might offer tax-deductible support.

Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Youth programming at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is supported in part by a grant from the Mineral Point Community Chest and United Fund of Iowa County.