shake rag alley news

Newsletter Archive

Shake Rag Alley
In the News

Artist mentions

news posts

Garden Expo

Look for Shake Rag Alley Center of the Arts at the Wisconsin Garden & Landscape Expo, February 7-9, in Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Stop by our booth to see project samples, meet friendly experienced students,… Continue Reading…

Read More »

Driftless Poets Open Mic

Public Reading & Open Mic Come out to Cafe 43, at 43 High Street, to meet the Driftless Poets for an Open Mic Night, February 13 from 7 – 9 pm. Details forthcoming here and on Facebook.

Read More »

Believing Art & Process

On a gray weekend, before the arrival of bright fall foliage, collagists at Shake Rag Alley kick-started an explosion of color. Students in Laura Lein-Svencner’s Believing Art and Process – Collage workshop began by staining bold tissue paper overlays. They… Continue Reading…

Read More »

From Loom to Home

Robust Rag Rug workshops with instructor Carole Spelic’ routinely sold out early. Students were eager to join in the meditative pleasure of working alongside other weavers on traditional looms. From the thrum of the treadles to the hum of a… Continue Reading…

Read More »

the view from shake rag alley: January 2020

Greetings from Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts! The first full week of the new year finds us working on erosion control measures we didn’t think we’d have to worry about until spring. A late December rainstorm sent so much water so fast through the culvert under Highway 23/39 at the northeast end of our historic campus that two large boulders were dislodged from the wall of the erosion channel that is meant to protect our buildings — including the 1850s Potter’s House pictured above — and paths from stormwater runoff. Thanks to Ivey’s Construction, Board member Ken Wallace, and Buildings & Grounds Technician Keith Huie for their assistance repairing the channel!

Speaking of the Potter’s House, there are only two chances remaining to register for our Tuck Point Our Potter’s House! workshop taught by Mineral Point stonemason Nate Chambers. Don’t delay — sign up today!

board of directors transitions

Lorraine Reynolds
Julia Marr
Deb Donaghue

Betty Hogan

In preparation for this year, in November the Shake Rag Alley Board of Directors held elections for officers. As of January, they are: Lorraine Reynolds, president; Julia Marr, vice president; Deb Donaghue, treasurer; and Betty Hogan, secretary. Although Mike Christensen has stepped down as president, we’re grateful that he continues to serve on the Board and several committees along with Molly Walz Huie, Cathy Kaiser, Dan Lloyd, Lisa Spady, RuthAnn Steuber, Ken Wallace, and Joe Witmer.

upcoming winter writers reading series

Award-winning authors from across Wisconsin will be staying with us through March, enjoying week-long writing residencies provided in partnership with the Council for Wisconsin Writers, Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine, and the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission through the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. During their time in Mineral Point, authors will read from and discuss their work on select Wednesdays at the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St. The readings are free and feature refreshments and an open mic for community poetry and prose. To see the 2019-20 lineup and learn more about these amazing writers, please visit our Literary Events page.

January 8

Council for Wisconsin Writers Kay W. Levin Award for Short Nonfiction
7:00 p.m. in the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St.

Christina Clancy received a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a specialty in eco-criticism and suburban literature, and taught creative writing at Beloit College. Her debut novel, The Second Home, will be published in June 2020 by St. Martin’s Press. The novel reflects her obsession with old houses, family, Cape Cod and summer vacation. 

January 15

Council for Wisconsin Writers Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award
7:00 p.m. in the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St.

Originally from Massachusetts, Marilyn Annucci worked for ten years as a writer and editor before earning an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Her collection of poems, The Arrows That Choose Us, also won the 2018 Press 53 Poetry Award.

January 22

Council for Wisconsin Writers Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award
7:00 p.m. in the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St.

With the birth of her first child, Laura Jean Baker finds herself electrified by oxytocin, the “love hormone.” Her memoir, The Motherhood Affidavits, explores her subsequent “oxy” cravings and reckless baby-making in juxtaposition with the experiences of her husband’s legal clients, often drug-addled fellow citizens of Oshkosh. Is she any less desperate for her next fix? Laura Jean earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan, where she was a Colby Fellow. Her essay “Year of the Tiger” was a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2013.

January 29

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters’ People & Ideas Fiction Contest Winner
7:00 p.m. in the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St.

Steve Fox’s writing has appeared in or has been recognized by Creative WisconsinThe Iowa ReviewThe Midwest ReviewMidwestern Gothic, The Masters Review, and the Wisconsin Writers Association. Fox lives with his wife, three boys, and one dog in Hudson and studies creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Driftless Poets celebrate their one-year anniversary of workshopping this month at 2-4 pm in the Ellery House. Newcomers are enthusiastically encouraged to attend! No registration is required, but RSVP is appreciated.

driftless poets exhibit and open mic – poetry at 43

Celebrate poetry this winter with an exhibit of work by a dozen members of the Driftless Poets starting January 19. The exhibit culminates with an Open Mic Night at 7-9 pm February 13 at Cafe 43. All are welcome to sign up to share five minutes of poetry or prose.

For more information, contact us at (608) 987-3292 or visit

Thank you to Cafe 43 for hosting this exhibit and event!

ways to get involved in 2020

While we put the finishing touches on our 2020 print catalog of arts and crafts workshops, we eagerly look forward to sharing the many ways you can get involved at Shake Rag Alley in this new year. Bookmark our Upcoming Events page on our new website to gather and share dates for workshops and events you’d like to attend or volunteer in support of with family and friends. As an added incentive, check out this year’s discounted workshop fees for volunteers and click below browse the opportunities to join us in February at PBS Wisconsin’s 27th annual Garden & Landscape Expo in Madison. In addition to earning hours toward your volunteer discount, volunteers enjoy free admission to the expo!

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.