Culture & Community



Pricing and Keynote Speaker


Writers Retreat

August 4th – 6th

Price: $250.00

In partnership with the Rhinelander District Library

A weekend writing retreat for local and regional participants to learn from respected authors and collaborate with one another. Programming will include a reception and reading by a keynote author, day long sessions and critiques with local and regional authors, participant readings will be broadcast on local community radio.


Writer's Retreat Class Schedule:


Key Note Speaker: Jerry Apps



The Art in Nature

September 22nd – 24th

Price: With on-site shared lodging $350.00

Without lodging $250.00

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point College of Natural Resources Treehaven

A weekend retreat for participants to experiment with a variety of art forms and mediums to create artwork inspired by natural forms, colors, and compositions. Respected arts instructors will work with Treehaven naturalists to offer sessions on site throughout Treehaven property from paper making to creating a temporal sculptural installation in the woods with keynote speaker artist, Kristin Theilking. Participants will have the opportunity to lodge at Treehaven.


The Art In Nature Class Schedule:


Key Note Speaker: Kristin Theilking



STEAM for artists

October 20th – 22nd

Price: $250.00

In partnership with FAB LAB Three Lakes through Three Lakes School District

A weekend retreat introducing artists to STEAM concepts (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and exploring how those concepts can enhance their work. Sessions will include working with 3-D printers, laser cutting, and digital photography techniques.





Opens: June 20th, 2017


Register Online Link



2017 Program Information Link




ArtStart Inc.

68 S. Stevens St.

Rhinelander, WI 54501


Phone: (715) 362-4328


For questions, please call Melinda at (715) 362-4328.



The story of School Of The Arts at Rhinelander:

In 1964, Robert E. Gard founded the Nationally known School Of The Arts at Rhinelander by hosting about 50 students and 6 writing instructors in the northwoods for the first School Of The Arts writing class. Gard was an innovative and influential founder, author, and University of Wisconsin Madison and Extension Professor.


In 1967, Gard wrote and received the first large grant made available by the National Endowment for the Arts in rural communities. SOA was one of the grant projects and was structured on Gard’s core beliefs: to help people grow as artists in a supportive environment, the power of individual expression through the arts, and bringing the resources of the University of Wisconsin to the citizens of the state. With the help of key Rhinelander locals, including Ced Vig, Rhinelander School District Superintendent, SOA grew into a 1-week program attended by hundreds of students and instructors and curriculum grew from a writing focus to include other art forms.



Developing a new tradition:

The University of Wisconsin Continuing Studies department held the last School Of The Arts in the summer of 2015, ending a 50 year tradition. SOA inspired many local artists, projects, and organizations. Including, the formation of a Rhinelander gallery and community art center - ArtStart.


ArtStart is a group of volunteers—business people, artists, art lovers, educators, and other community-minded citizens—who have transformed the historic Federal Building in downtown Rhinelander into a destination arts and cultural center. ArtStart’s mission is to inspire, challenge and educate through cultural events and highly-distinctive, curated visual art exhibitions with the purpose of strengthening and sustaining the community.


With the support of the Robert E. Gard Foundation and The University of Wisconsin Continuing Studies Department, ArtStart will be hosting art education retreats in the spirit of School of the Arts in the summer of 2017 and fall of 2018.





School of the Arts Legacy Program Partners and Sponsors:


The University of Wisconsin Division of Continuing Studies


The Robert E. Gard Foundation


The Northern Arts Council


The Rhinelander District Library


The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point College of Natural Resources Treehaven


Fab Lab Three Lakes through Three Lakes School District


Wisconsin Arts Board







Contact Us!


ArtStart, Inc.

68 S. Stevens St.

PO Box 896

Rhinelander, WI 54501