Identity is an important part of any community, and it’s something that’s often many, many years in the making. The visual arts have been an important part of Door County’s identity for many decades, and one of the institutions that has helped to build this identity is the Peninsula School of Art (PenArt) in Fish Creek.
Since 1965, the school has offered classes at its current location, and it has grown to serve about 1,500 students and 10,000 visitors annually. With growth comes need, so PenArt launched the Door to Creativity fundraising campaign last year.
An explanation at the beginning of the campaign’s brochure reads, “There simply isn’t enough space to hold the growing number of creative learners, art appreciators and young artists [who] visit PenArt on a daily basis, or to offer the types of programs our community – near and far – has come to depend on us for.” The plan is to reinvent and revitalize the campus so that the visual arts can continue to enhance the lives of Door County’s visitors and residents.
The campaign goal is $6.4 million. After working with architectural firm HGA and Boldt Construction this past spring on value engineering and site redesign, the project is estimated to come in on budget. Currently, about 3.5 million has been raised.
Here’s what the Door to Creativity campaign is hoping to achieve:
• Replace two seasonal studios with a dedicated, year-round education space for children and teens that can accommodate up to four simultaneous programs.
• Create direct access from the youth studios to the Guenzel Gallery.
• Furnish the studios with age-appropriate equipment and materials.
• Refresh the exterior of the main campus to allow for safe student drop-off, a school-bus turnaround and dedicated outdoor spaces for children, teens and families.
• Develop two dedicated, state-of-the-art adult painting and mixed-media studios.
• Create a digital-arts and photography teaching studio.
• Provide the community, children and adults with access to print and digital technologies.
• Add low-maintenance roofing, windows and siding to all buildings.
• Create additional parking, pathways and lighting throughout the campus.
• Provide access to community partners and visibility on Highway 42.
• Attract more nationally recognized faculty.
• Offer simultaneous programs in multiple media and innovative crossdisciplinary programs.
• Provide training in contemporary digital-art techniques, design and marketing for adults and youth.
• Offer new programs and accessible print stations.
If you’ve driven past PenArt on Highway 42 recently, you may have noticed some changes already. During this past summer, the property was cleared in preparation for construction, so the campus is partially visible from the road. Ground will be broken when the campaign reaches $5 million. PenArt is now working on grants, meeting with new donors and engaging in other fundraising initiatives to reach this mark.
In an email to campaign donors, Catherine Hoke, PenArt’s executive director, provided an update on the campaign. She wrote, “We are now in the process of permitting and seeking approvals which will likely take until spring or early summer to finalize with the state, county and town. With that being said, we would like to begin construction next fall – depending on programming and, of course, fundraising for the project.”
To donate to the Door to Creativity campaign, contact Catherine Hoke at [email protected] or 920.868.3455. Gifts of all sizes are appreciated.