Column: Downtown Ripon will feature a Dickens of an art show this weekend

RIPON ARTIST SANDY Blank shows off some of her artwork, including a necklace that will be in the show. Ian Stepleton photo

When you think of Dickens of a Christmas, the first image that comes to mind likely is the Living Windows.

The premiere event of Ripon’s largest annual festival, this is the focal point of the weekend winter event.

But a new premier will be occurring during Living Windows Friday night as well on Saturday, and it’s aimed at helping someone live well.

The Ripon Holiday Art Show and Sale will be held downtown, offering visitors both a chance to look at (and purchase!) locally made art, while helping raise funds.

The event will be held at 303 Watson Street (right at the heart of the “Living Windows District” that night), but with more than a dozen artists participating, organizers are optimistic this could be so large a second space may need to be secured.

“Eighteen artists from around the area — [including] Princeton, Berlin, Green Lake and Ripon — [will include their art],” said Riponite Catherine Ellenbecker, who is putting this show together. “They have agreed to show their artwork … If it spills over, we will use Mugs Coffee House (which is just south of 303 Watson St.).”

Concept for the event has been brewing for a while. Catherine, an artist herself, felt it would be nice to have somewhere to show her works and those of her friends sometime.

The idea eventually evolved into the Ripon Holiday Art Show and Sale.

It’s a win-win situation for those involved. The event gives the professional artists a chance to display, and possibly sell, their artwork.

Meanwhile, it helps raise money for an area family in need.

After Catherine began putting the show together, she approached an area friend whose daughter has cerebral palsy, and offered to use the event to raise money to offset their medical costs.

“I said, I would like to use my time and talent for this,” Catherine said.

Family members were thrilled, noting they were “very appreciative” of the effort.

And plenty of artists have been happy to participate.

“We have over 200 pieces going into the show,” Catherine said.

...“Keith Cluppert [of Schmitt Lumber] – he and his staff have built three sets of double-sided portable walls for us [to hang the art on], and Graphic Sign has donated signage,” Catherine said, adding the F. Mark Moore Band will be performing all Friday evening.

The Barlow Park Elementary School PTO will be selling hot chocolate and raisins for kids, too.

And artists have done their part, not only by participating, but by agreeing to sell their works at the absolute lowest price they could consider — meaning the art available this weekend will be affordable (maybe for a Christmas gift?).

This makes it, as Catherine pointed out, the best possible time to buy one’s self a piece of art, or to find a gift for a friend or loved one....

Come down to 303 Watson St. Friday night between 5 and 9 p.m., or Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information, call Catherine at 748-8606 or email her at

To read the entire column, see the Dec. 2 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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