By Joe Bachman
This year’s ARTi Gras, a celebration of the arts in and around the Wisconsin Rapids community, is set to be the biggest and longest event in its short history.
ARTi Gras will see a plethora of events ranging from operas, plays, magic shows, art exhibits, poetry, comedy shows, and live music, all for a span of 10 days in multiple locations. The event is in it’s third year, but it has never seen the amount of events, artists and exposure as it will in 2016, due partly from a Wisconsin grant.
“ARTi Gras is a festival on the rise that celebrates the arts and shines a light on cultural organizations in Central Wisconsin,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett from a Dec. 2015 press release. “We are proud to support events like ARTi Gras that showcase the state as an arts destination and create a positive economic impact in the community.”ARTi Gras received a $10,000 Joint Effort Marketing grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism in late 2015.
“This is going to be our biggest ARTi Gras to date,” said Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater board member Cory Gavinski. “There will be events held in the Nekoosa Retirement Center, McMillan Library, and the Central Wisconsin Cultural Center, aside from the theater.”
In some cases, one day will see multiple events going on at the same time, as in the case of Monday, Mar. 14, where the Blue Monday band will be onstage at Hollyrock’s Tavern at the same time an Oscar-nominated special feature will be shown at the McMillan Library. This will be a common occurrence in these 10 days, as explained by Gavinski.
The festival will wrap up on Mar. 19, at the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater Auditorium and the Centralia Center with “ARTi Party; Around the World in 80 Bites”, which feature international cuisine, special festival drinks, dancing, live music, and raffles. Admission is $35 at the door for ARTi Party, and $25 in advance.
The festival will kickoff with an opera performed by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Opera Club on Thursday, Mar. 10 at 7:00 p.m. inside the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater Auditorium. For more information on this festival, please call 715-421-0435.