Local Art Goes Worldwide

Ellison Bay Virtual Spring Arts Crawl and Miller Art Museum share art virtually

Door County artists and artisans took viewers on real-time virtual tours of their galleries and working spaces as part of the first Ellison Bay Virtual Spring Arts Crawl on May 16.

During the live Ellison Bay Arts Facebook event, viewers from across the country were able to comment in real time while being treated to tours of Ellison Bay Pottery, Island Orchard Cider, Gills Rock Pottery, Turtle Ridge Gallery and Boutique, Kick Ash Products and Clay Bay Pottery. 

At Gills Rock Pottery, Judy Thoreson introduced the gallery space, and Thor Thoreson walked through the pottery-making process, from throwing clay on the wheel, to baking it in the kiln, to glazing it. After a look at the artistic process, Judy let the pottery speak for itself, showing off brightly decorated pottery pieces and expressive “story pots.” 

Mary Ellen Sisulak began the tour of her Turtle Ridge Gallery and Boutique in the beautiful garden area, noting that natural elements inspired much of the art displayed inside. There, viewers were introduced to Turtle Ridge’s inventory of handmade bags, carefully curated clothing lines, and handmade jewelry. 

“Although we kept the tours bite-sized for Facebook, we gave a good taste of the gallery, and it was just so nice to share some of the art we’ve been working on,” Sisulak said.

The tour also featured Turtle Ridge’s new art space and Sisulak’s paintings.

During another stop on the virtual crawl, Carol Ash led a tour around the Kick Ash Products building – a beautifully revamped church furnished with eclectic, second-hand furniture and featuring a series of birch-tree paintings by Emily Salm. The spotlight, however, was on Kick Ash’s artisan granola, baked goods and small-batch roasted coffee. 

“I believe that creating anything with your hands is art,” Ash said. “Knowing different foods and how they go together is like knowing how colors go together in a painting.” 

Miller Art Museum’s New Virtual Reach

The Miller Art Museum has also made creative adjustments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with its 46th Annual Salon of Door County High School Art, which opened virtually May 11 and will be available for viewing through July 6. The museum partnered with the London-based design firm Curat10n to build the virtual space that’s designed to display a wide range of artwork by talented Door County high school artists. 

The exhibition is an important tradition at the Miller Art Museum and in the wider community, so putting it on virtually was a priority for the museum. 

“I think it is not only important for the students to have connection, outreach and support from the community, but it’s also important for the community to be inspired by, understand and be in touch with our youth,” said Helen del Guidice, curator of exhibits and collections. “Being a community that fosters the arts is part of Door County’s identity, and the next great Door County artists are definitely amongst us.” 

The virtual space was designed to look as much like the physical museum space as possible. After downloading the exhibition from the museum’s website at, visitors can “walk” through the virtual gallery space using their computer’s arrow keys. As visitors move through the virtual space, they can use the Shift key to focus on individual pieces of art. This zoomed-in view provides details such as the artist’s name, high school, class and the art media used. 

Although a virtual experience with art does not replace an in-person experience, the museum’s foray into virtual space opens new doors for curation in the future. 

“Now that we have the virtual gallery built, we can continue to use it by changing the exhibit in the virtual space,” del Guidice said. “That gives the Miller the opportunity to go global and bring Door County to the world. The effects of that can only mean great things for the Miller Art Museum and the community.” 

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