shake rag alley news

the view from shake rag alley

August 2020

Greetings from Shake Rag Alley! We are still feeling the effects of the fairy magic that drew visitors of all ages to explore our campus for Saturday’s Tour of Fairy Homes (pictured at left), which was held the same day that Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate began. More than 30 original fairy houses were featured on the tour and in our Silent Auction. Hearing the shouts of “Wow!” and “I found one!” from children with maps in hand discovering one-of-a-kind fairy houses set among our buildings and gardens was a welcome diversion from the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re grateful to all of the staff and volunteers who contributed to our safe and successful event, and to everyone who joined us for this annual fundraiser and celebration of rustic arts and nature crafts.

Since reopening in June, we continue to welcome students and instructors to our small-scale arts and crafts workshops — like Nate Chambers’ sold-out tuckpointing workshop at our Potter’s House last month (pictured above) — overnight guests to our charming lodging accommodations, and participants to our community programs and events. As of today, more

than a dozen August adult workshops are scheduled to proceed with reduced class sizes and in compliance with our COVID-19 protocols (the registration deadline for three of them is today!). Our August Youth Program concludes with six unique arts and crafts workshops available for curbside pickup or mail delivery with companion video or Zoom instruction. Kits leftover after the date of a schedule class are available for purchase in the Youth Program Marketplace.

Click below to view pictures from our workshops and events of the past two months, and read on for ways you can still engage with Shake Rag Alley in person or from home. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at or (608) 987-3292.

join us for our august events



On Aug. 14, Dr. Michael Thornton will speak on how racial concepts impact policing nationwide and in Wisconsin. He will offer insight and data on current practices as well as an overview of policing theories such as: the broken windows theory, community policing, stop and frisk, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

For more information or to join the mailing list to receive the Zoom invite, please visit our Virtual Community Conversations page or call our office at (608) 987-3292



In preparation for our rescheduled NEA Big Read of “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine, Shake Rag Alley is hosting a series of free virtual community conversations relevant to ideas explored in the book. These 1.5-hour Zoom meetings give us a chance to explore issues Rankine addresses before taking a deep dive into the text this fall.
Join us Aug. 6 for a conversation about the effects of systemic racism on education facilitated by Jessica Fleischmann, a teacher at JC Wright Middle School in Madison who will offer insight on how best to teach Black history in predominantly white schools.



The Driftless Poets will meet in person outdoors and observe social distancing this month. Join us at 2-4 p.m. Aug. 8 on the Green near the office (or in the Lind Pavilion in case of inclement weather).

Local and aspiring poets are invited to provide and receive support and encouragement on their work at this free monthly workshop. To RSVP or for more information, email us or call (608) 987-3292. 

Our generous friends always supply the most eclectic items imaginable 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!

Stop by the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St., at 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, and 7:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 15. Masks will be required and a maximum of 10 people will be permitted on either side of the pavilion at one time.

If you would like to donate items to the garage sale, staff will be available to help at the Lind Pavilion Aug. 10-12 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or sooner by appointment Monday-Friday. To schedule, please call our office at (608) 987-3292.

Save the date and watch our website for details on next month’s Women’s Art Party!

mover & shaker of the month: sherry viktora

The next honoree in our Shake Rag Alley Mover & Shaker Club series is Sherry Viktora, a senior instructor in precious metal clay who since 2007 has offered several jewelry workshops a year and has been one of our most sustaining supporters. Sherry’s name regularly appears on our list of annual donors. Her name also graces one of the steps leading to Roland’s Loft in recognition of her support for our 2018 fundraising campaign to complete the restoration of the Sardeson building at 223 Commerce St. And late last month, Sherry made a significant donation to Shake Rag Alley for which we are incredibly grateful. Click here for more information about Sherry’s upcoming workshops and here to purchase your very own Sherry Viktora wearable art. 

We know how fortunate we are to be able to continue offering arts and crafts education and community events during these coronatimes. Last month we received a $525 donation from Point Foods representing the amount Mineral Point shoppers “rounded up” on behalf of our Youth Program. We also received notice that our applications for disaster relief assistance from the Mineral Point Community Foundation and Wisconsin Arts Boardand the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program were approved. While this assistance will help us get through this extremely difficult year, your one-time or recurring monthly donation will help sustain our general operations and preserve and maintain our historic campus in the long term. Thank you for your consideration!

For more information about how you can make a sustaining gift to Shake Rag Alley, or include our nonprofit in your estate planning, please contact Executive Director Sara Lomasz Flesch at (608) 987-3292 or

youth program gallery

Among the Youth Program workshops offered last month were Magic Braid Bracelets and Leather Wallet with Carole Spelić, left, and llama paintings completed during our animal-themed Free Arts Camp with Elizabeth Johanna. Many thanks to everyone who contributed animal care videos for Free Arts Camp! You can check them out here.

We’d love to include your student work in our Youth Program Gallery. Please email your photos to

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.