Sturgeon Bay Celebrates 25 Years of Fine Art

Sturgeon Bay’s Fine Art Fair will celebrate its 25th birthday in style this year as it welcomes 70 Midwestern artists who work in a variety of media, from painting to wood to ceramics. 

Live entertainment and kids’ activities, including music by DJ Mike Raye and a visit from some of the raptor residents of Open Door Bird Sanctuary, will complement the art on display. And if strolling through the vendors’ stalls works up an appetite, stop for food at The Dough Shoppe, Steel Belly BBQ, Cowboy Kettle Corn and The Dog House, among other restaurant options. 

Participating artists will have a chance to win first- through third-place awards for both 2D and 3D art, as well as Best of Show and Honorable Mention accolades for both categories. Winners will be notified of their honors and awarded cash prizes and ribbons on Saturday afternoon.

Are you ready to get your art on after a long winter? Head to Martin Park, 207 S. 3rd Ave. in Sturgeon Bay, on May 27, 10 am – 5 pm; or May 28, 10 am – 4 pm. Learn more at

“Rorschach Bass” by Marie Kimball. Photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay.
“Legendary Bass” by Erin K. Nolan. Photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay.
“It’s All about the Bass Named Betty” by Kim “Kimski” Heier. Photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay.

Bass around the Bay

While you’re in town for the art fair, you might notice a few fishy friends dotted around Sturgeon Bay. 

Those fish statues are part of an annual public-art project designed to beautify the city. In previous years, that project has filled the streets with statues of sturgeons, lighthouses, sailboats, benches, chairs and cherries. This year, the theme is bass.

Artists from around the Midwest have crafted each of the 27 bass statues, which Destination Sturgeon Bay will auction off in mid-September. Proceeds will then be split between the participating artists and the Sturgeon Bay Beautification Fund.

To see all the statues before they’re gone, pick up a Bass around the Bay walking map at Destination Sturgeon Bay’s welcome center, 1015 Green Bay Road, or download one at Then bid on any of the projects – now through Sept. 16 at 5:30 pm – online at

“A Time to Rest” by Marissa Renée. Submitted.
Bettina Madini with her work. Submitted.
Luke Collins’ work. Submitted.

Artists Answer

In honor of the art festival’s 25th anniversary, we asked some of the participating artists what makes the event special to them. Their responses have been edited for clarity.

“What I love about the art fair is seeing the variety of talent. It’s really cool to see what other people are good at and where their creativity takes them. My specialty is photography, and I love seeing other photographers’ work, too. There are many regular artists who set up at the fair every year, and it’s wonderful to see them again and catch up on what they have been working on over the past year. The festival is also one of the first fairs of the summer season for most of us, so spirits are always high among the artists and visitors.”

Luke Collins, owner, Luke Collins Photography in Baileys Harbor

“I’ve been part of the festival for 15 years, and I look forward to it every year because it kicks off my summer. My children, who are now in their 20s, have accompanied me to this show since they were 5. I’ve also made friends with customers in the show and look forward to seeing them year after year.”

Joy Kruse, metalsmith and jewelry maker

“I’ve attended the art fair with my family in the past, but this is my first year entering as an artist. Already, I’ve experienced a tremendous outpouring of support and advice from artists who have participated before. I feel like I’m not just setting up a booth at an event – I’m joining a community with a shared passion for creating beauty.”

Marissa Renée, portrait artist

“It seems like it always rains during or just before the show, but locals and visitors still come out and support the arts in Door County.”

Peter Paul Jones, leather worker

“I am a Chinese-American, born in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I moved to Wisconsin many years ago, and my paintings have since changed to reflect Wisconsin’s beauty. I love the Sturgeon Bay Fine Arts Fest because it’s one of the best destinations in Wisconsin, and the art committee is wonderful and accommodating.”

Charlotte Fung Miller, Chinese brush paintings

“This is my first year participating in the festival, but Door County – especially Sturgeon Bay – has inspired me in so many ways. During visits, I take so many pictures of the light reflecting on the water. An entire series of paintings emerged from some of those photos.” 

Bettina Madini, painter and designer

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