The third full weekend each October, some of Wisconsin's best-known artisans open their studios, allowing visitors a unique, behind-the-scenes view into how their work is created. Known as the Fall Art Tour, each year it draws visitors from all over the country to artists' studios tucked away in the scenic hills in and around Wisconsin's art communities of Mineral Point, Spring Green, Dodgeville, and Baraboo.
During the three-day tour, artists will be in their studios, demonstrating and selling their work. These artisans include painters, sculptors, potters, weavers, jewelers, woodworkers, mixed-media artists, and more. Many of these studios are open only for this event, providing a unique opportunity to meet the artists and purchase their work. So join us on a drive through the autumn countryside during this once-a-year event that includes a rare glimpse into the restored breweries, one-room schoolhouses, and historic storefronts where some of Wisconsin's best-known artists work.
One-time county seat, lead-mining epicenter, U.S. Army headquarters for the Blackhawk Indian War, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Territory, Mineral Point has seen more than its share of history. The specially skilled Cornish miners and stonemasons who flocked to the area in the 1830s to do the hard-rock mining left behind their beautiful stone houses and buildings which have drawn artists from as early as 1940. Pendarvis, an historic site owned and operated by the State Historical Society, offers guided tours that illuminate the history, architecture and culture of that period. Mineral Point was the first city in Wisconsin to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007, Mineral Point was selected by the National Trust as one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations, an annual list of unique and lovingly preserved communities in the United States. A tour of the town reveals a cornucopia of architectural styles. Long known for its interesting people, Mineral Point continues the tradition of independent spirit and single-minded pursuit of one’s dreams. From the rowdy frontier miners of the 1840s to the large artist community of today, the unique blend of people who have shaped Mineral Point created a community steeped in charm and character. This is an experience not to be missed.
Spring Green is located in the Wisconsin River valley, an area rich in arts, culture and natural beauty. It has long attracted artists working in a wide range of creative disciplines. Visitors to Spring Green enjoy an eclectic variety of shops and galleries. A short distance from town, across the Wisconsin River, is the site of Taliesin, the home and studio of the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Tours of Taliesin originate at the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor’s Center. Spring Green is also home to the internationally acclaimed American Players Theatre.
Just down Highway 23, travelers will find The House on the Rock, Wisconsin’s largest attraction, and the highly popular Governor Dodge State Park. Next, Dodgeville, the city that Henry Dodge founded in 1827, while seeking his fortune amid the local lead deposits, unfolds in mature grace. Designated as Tree City, USA, it is also the county seat and the area’s mercantile center. Selected as one of Wisconsin’s Main Street Communities, its downtown, which features Wisconsin’s oldest courthouse, has been named a National Historic District. Dodgeville is also home to Lands’ End, one of the world’s best-known direct merchants of casual clothing.
Legend has it that Baraboo takes its name from a French trapper, Jean Baribault, who traded with the natives on the banks of the peaceful river that runs through its center — now the longest stretch of restored riverway in the United States. This gracious city is snuggled comfortably inside a 30-mile by 10-mile ring of breathtaking bluffs and hills known as the Baraboo Range, formed from a mile-thick layer of glossy pink quartzite 1.5 billion years old. The spectacular quartzite emerges to contribute to the dramatic natural beauty and 500-foot cliffs of nearby Devil’s Lake State Park. Baraboo is home to the International Crane Foundation, world center for the study and preservation of the world’s tallest flying birds, and the only place on earth where all 15 species can be seen together. Birthplace of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Baraboo also hosts the Circus World Museum. In the historic downtown district, the Al Ringling Theatre, a fixture for more than 80 years, is designed in the style of grand French opera houses, and boasts a mighty Barton theatre organ. Friendly natives, sincere, small-town hospitality and ample amenities make this sterling little city a haven you’ll remember.