Even after a slew of summer festivals and fairs, art lovers still have the chance to experience Chippewa County artists and creators – this time, in a more relaxed environment.

The Yellowstone Art Trail, a self-guided art tour featuring displays from local artists, will wend its way from Lake Wissota through Cadott and end in Boyd. It is slated for Friday and Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. each day.

The official trail map, available at www.yellowstonearttrail.blogspot.com, gives participants a loose structure for their day, numbering the art exhibits along the trail and suggesting local restaurants and sweets shops for a bite along the way.

People can drive or bike the trail, though organizer and founder Jean Arneson recommends a car for carrying the art, if audiences plan to purchase any.

“We’ve simplified the route this year. You should be able to get it in all in one day, if you really book it,” Arneson said.

Arneson, a local designer and oil painter, created the Yellowstone Art Trail in 2013. She wanted to create a way for people to appreciate both original art and history of the area, she said. “In this area, there are so many shops with homemade things; there’s a lot of history too.”

Participants can expect diverse offerings, Arneson said: woodworker Bill Mayer and basket-weaver Jean Atter-Chwala have worked the trail for several years, while a newcomer, Alexandria Mooney-Jones, is a self-described “fireworks artist” and creates designs from the festive explosions.

2017 will be Mooney-Jones’ first time displaying her art on the trail, and onlookers might be surprised to learn the brightly-colored canvases don’t involve any pigment or paint. “Every mark on the canvas is essentially done with the different fireworks that I get,” Mooney said.

Mooney-Jones’ unique medium came as a happy accident in college, when a friend gave her the idea to use fireworks to create burn marks on an art project. The technique worked so well, Mooney-Jones said, that 10 years later, she’s still exploding fireworks on canvas with colorful and unexpected results.

Atter-Chwala, a local to the Boyd area, weaves pine needles into baskets. She uses Wisconsin red pine needles she’s gathered herself instead of ordering traditional foot-long Norway pine needles. She’s inspired by her surroundings in Chippewa County. She said: “I’m very interested in doing art projects that you don’t have to buy materials for.”

The trail’s 33-artist lineup spans religious paintings and sculptures to framed butterflies and wood carving from local trees.

The art trail’s official map loosely follows the Chippewa County portion of the original “Yellowstone Trail.” The trail was an effort by early-1900s Midwestern settlers to create a trail that spanned the length of the country, beginning at Massachusetts and ending at the state of Washington, according to the Explore Chippewa County website.

More information about artists and all 15 display locations, as well as a full trail map, can be found at www.yellowstonearttrail.blogspot.com.

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Chippewa Herald reporter

Sarah Seifert covers the city and community of Chippewa Falls. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-738-1608 or at sarah.seifert@lee.net.

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