Artists Celebrate Past, Present, Future of Sturgeon Bay

“Granary,” 2015, Printed Poster, by Nicola Kaftan, Laura Kaftan, and Joseph Kaftan.

This winter, Stephanie Trenchard and her husband Jeremy Popelka (co-owners of Popelka Trenchard Glass in Sturgeon Bay) found themselves thrust into conversations revolving around redevelopment controversies on the city’s west side.

It was natural, given the longtime business’ location in the historic downtown and the couple’s own engagement in following along with what was happening in the city their studio calls home.

Just as natural was Trenchard’s turn toward action when she saw artists creating art to express their discontent with portions of the project. That action will reveal itself in the weeklong pop-up art show featuring a dozen local artists in About Sturgeon Bay, opening June 7.

Rather than focus on the political aspect of what was happening, Trenchard decided to use the show as a celebration of engaged citizenry.

“The show is not a political show,” Trenchard said. “It’s just kind of a celebration of all the expressive engagement people had over the winter … we’re always keeping an artist’s vision and voice alive as the city progresses to whatever end.”

Honoring the show’s theme of “possibility,” Trenchard encouraged 12 invited artists to work outside their medium of choice and create new pieces about Sturgeon Bay “primarily concerning its future, past or present as a link to the vision of how we redefine our city as it transitions to a new paradigm.”

“7 South 2nd” Assemblage of found objects by Margaret Lockwood.

She considers that paradigm to include many levels: the entrepreneurial pursuits of the Millennial Generation in Door County, embrace of the city’s history, the “buy local” movement, and the reinforcement of Sturgeon Bay’s rich artistic community. The art in the show is representative of all of these segments.

Artist Margaret Lockwood fused her future as a Sturgeon Bay resident with the city’s history in her assemblage, “7 South 2nd.” That is the address that will welcome Lockwood and her new studio later this year – an old building that once housed the Door County Advocate. The assemblage features Advocate newsprint from the turn of the 20th century along with knobs, old nails, a window frame, and other found objects from the building.

“The old warehouses are captured in this piece as an homage to its history and that of Sturgeon Bay,” Lockwood said. “Remembering where we came from and appreciating the past adds fullness to our present lives.”

Behind Popelka Trenchard Glass is another part of the pop-up show: a landscape installation, “Imprinted Paleolithic Sturgeon Bay,” of wood, steel, glass and plant material created by Milwaukee landscape architects Nancy Aten and Dan Collins that celebrates the natural and manmade environments of Sturgeon Bay.

Other artists exhibiting include Trenchard, Charolette Baierl, Lynn Gilchrist, Kelly Goettelman, Ty Helbach, Joe Kaftan, Jeremy Popelka, Cinnamon Rossman, and Lori Weir.

Imprinted Paleolithic Sturgeon Bay, a landscape installation behind Popelka Trenchard Glass, is a work-in-progress by Milwaukee landscape architects Nancy Aten and Dan Collins.

“I’m really excited about the work that people are creating and I’m excited that artists are inspired to be engaged,” Trenchard said. “A lot of times we feel like we are outside of the cutting edge, basically. We’re sort of provincial, we’re sort of outside of what’s happening but if you can make your own world relevant, if the art you make is relevant to where you live right now, it’s fulfilling as an artist.”

The opening reception of About Sturgeon Bay will be held from 4 – 6pm on Sunday, June 7 at Popelka Trenchard Glass, 64 S. 2nd Ave. in Sturgeon Bay. Brown bag lunch discussions will happen Monday, June 8 through Saturday, June 13 at noon (bring your own lunch), with daily viewing of the show on those days from 10am – 5pm. For more information, find About Sturgeon Bay on Facebook, visit, or call 920.743.7287.