2016 is in the history books and the New Year is already three weeks old. This is the time of year that many people set goals, make resolutions and vow to make changes to improve their lives. The tradition of resolutions goes back a few years – 4000 according to some sources! We all have made them – and we all have broken more than a few as well.

In addition to making the personal improvement resolutions this year, how about making a resolution to take a personal stake in making an improvement in our community? There are a number of ways to do this. Here are just a few suggestions that I am challenging everyone reading this to make.

Bring a friend to take a tour at Pendarvis

Take a kid to see the Mineral Point Depot

Become a member of the Mineral Point Historical Society

Pledge to attend more shows at the Mineral Point Opera House

Create a costume for the Art in Motion Parade – It’s June 3!

Bring a friend to lunch in Mineral Point

Join a local service organization

Take a class at Shake Rag

Hike up Merry Christmas Mine Hill

Visit a shop you have never checked out

Spend more locally

Attend a school board meeting

Stock your car with Mineral Point Visitor guides and share them on your out of town travels

Come out for Gallery Nights – April 1, June 3, August 5, December 2

Enjoy a Jammin on the Porch concert at Orchard – June 9, July 14, August 11, Sept 8

Sign up for the Chamber newsletter – email

Enter something in the Iowa County Fair

Take a child to a City Park

Attend a community event that you have never gone to

Go to the Mineral Point Market on Saturdays – starting May 6

Attend a ballgame

Learn a new fact about Mineral Point

Thank a City worker – and your Council representative

Go to the Library

Keep your gift buying in Mineral Point – or buy Mineral Point Gift Certificates

Donate to a food pantry or contribute to Pointer Panty

Join the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce (personal memberships are welcome)

Talk to a stranger

Invite a neighbor to dinner

Challenge someone else to these resolutions!

These are some really simple ideas … that can turn into habits. If all of us strive to do as many as we can, it will make a big impact on our community. Let’s make these resolutions the ones we keep all year long. I welcome other ideas too – stop in to the Chamber office and share them.


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Carole Spelic’s Big, Beautiful Wall

Carole Spelic’s ‘Estoy Construyendo un Muro’ (I Am Building A Wall) is currently on display at Cafe 43, but will be moving this weekend to 203 High Street (the Old Bank Building on the corner of High and Chestnut) as part of Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts‘s Art Adventure Mixed Media Exhibit.

At the exhibit you can view Carole’s wall as well as artwork created by Shake Rag students and instructors, as part of the second annual Art Adventure.  The exhibit will take place Thursday, August 24th through Sunday, August 27th (Fri-Sun, Noon-1pm and Thur-Sat, 4:30-6:30pm).

Read below for more information about Carole Spelic’s artwork, ‘Estoy Construyendo un Muro.’

HSB: Tell me about the Wall:
Carole Spelic: First, let’s be sure people know what it’s called: Estoy Construyendo un Muro (I am Building a Wall). I don’t really speak Spanish. I had to ask Google to translate, but it was important to me that the title be in Spanish.

HSB: What inspired the artwork?
Carole: The idea for the wall came from Donald Trump. His proposal that a wall should be built along the US/Mexico border – and that Mexico would be paying for its construction – struck me as quite ridiculous, yet intriguing. There are portions of his vision that did resonate for me. He said he was going to build a “big, beautiful wall” and that was my goal too. Current specifications call for the border wall to be 18 to 30 feet tall so I guess I have a way to go yet. The specs also mention reinforced solid concrete, or “other materials”, so from a practical standpoint I’m glad I opted for “other materials”. Reinforced solid concrete would be a bear to transport. Another amusing part of the federal specifications is that the wall must be “aesthetically pleasing” on the north-facing side! I guess mine is overkill, since it looks nice on all sides, right?

HSB: What materials are used and where did they come from?
Carole: The units each have an understructure made of household insulation – extruded polystyrene sheet – joined with drywall screws. Both of those materials are actually reused from a sculpture I made a couple years ago. The coverings are cut from textiles I purchased. They are woven in Mexico and are mostly made from recycled fibers. It was pretty funny, I kept coming across bits of elastic while I was working with the fabric. Obviously someone is shredding panties to make blankets out of! How’s that for recycling?

HSB: How big is the completed wall?
Carole: Well, the dimensions are variable. Each unit is the size of a standard cinder block – 8″ x 8″ x 16″. I currently have enough units to build a wall that is 8′ tall and 10′ long, but it can be reworked in various configurations.

HSB: How can community members get involved?
Carole: I’m willing to add to the wall or subtract from it. One unit costs me about $3.50 in materials, so folks could pay me that much to build more units or remove them. Megan, you paid to add to the wall! Does that mean you like the idea of a wall…or just my wall? Also, if anyone has Mexican textiles they would like to donate, I’ll incorporate them into the next units I construct.

HSB: Where can we view the wall and how long will it be on display?
Carole: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit the sculpture in the “Old Bank Building” at 203 High Street in Mineral Point during Shake Rag Alley’s Art Adventure weekend. This is a group show that will be up August 24-27. Friday, Saturday and Sunday the doors will be open from noon until 1:00 and on Thursday,Friday and Saturday, there will be a wine and cheese reception from 4:30 to 6:30 each day. I look forward to interacting with everyone in discussing the wall, but there will also be lots of other exciting artworks on hand, made by participants in the Art Adventure retreat.

HSB: Anything else you’d like to share about the project?
Carole: Yes. When my sculpture has run its course, I’m going to disassemble it and sew the fabric coverings back into blankets. I’ll donate them to a charity that will get them to needy immigrants. Reduce, re-use, recycle! Also, if people (especially knitters!) are interested in a related project they might want to visit I’m making one of those welcome blankets right now.

Contributed by Megan Kulick, Executive Director, Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

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Winter Writers Series Begins Tomorrow

Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik Local author Karen Loeb, right, leads an adult fiction writing workshop Monday at the Volume One Gallery. The workshop is one of many events that are part of the upcoming Chippewa Valley Book Festival.

Photo by Marisa Wojcik of
author Karen Loeb leading a workshop

Since 2011 Shake Rag Alley has partnered with the Council for Wisconsin Writers (CWW), Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission through the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters to offer week-long residencies to their annual writing contest winners. During their stay, the writers participate in workshops, readings and community outreach activities.

Photo by Ben Russell

Photo by Ben Russell

The series will kick off on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 with the 2016 winner of the Wisconsin People and Ideas poetry contest, Karen Loeb. When asked to describe what we can expect, Karen wrote, ‘My presentation will be a craft talk, where I’ll read some poetry and fiction and talk about how I make decisions about which genre to write in. I will also welcome questions from people in the audience.’ Samples of her work, including her award winning poem “In the Science Museum,” can be found at

This event takes place at 7pm at Shake Rag Alley’s Lind Pavilion, located at 411 Commerce St. Participation is free and no registration is required.

Don’t miss upcoming events in the 2017 series:

John Gurda, March 8th
Ronnie Hess, March 15th
Allison Slavick, March 29th

For more information on the Winter Writer’s Series, visit our website.

Contributed by Megan Kulick, Executive Director at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

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Mineral Point Gets Lit

Come to downtown Mineral Point for the most magical weekend of the year with candlelight shopping, Santa Day at Shake Rag, the Nutcracker, chestnuts (and s’mores) roasting on an open fire, and the final Gallery Night of the year.

The town is just about ready to go.  The shops are festooned with evergreen garlands, the Homan’s Christmas tree at the top of the hill is lit, and the new light-up wreaths adorn the downtown street lights. Come Saturday at 5:00 p.m. the Mineral Point Key Club will light and distribute the luminary, and the holiday singing and shopping will begin!

Look for numerous new shops and galleries as well. In addition those mentioned in our most recent blog post “New Stores Popping Up“, check out the grand opening of Kath Whitford’s Retromantic at 148 High Street.

Most galleries and shops are showcasing special exhibits and offering complimentary treats. It’s like a series of parties and we’re all invited. Here’s a rundown of the activities, with links.

Friday, December 2, 2016

7:30 p.m. The Nutcracker kicks off its two-week engagement at the Mineral Point Opera House.

8:30 p.m. Cupola returns to the Gray Dog.

Saturday, December 3, 2016 – Gallery Night – Candlelight Shopping

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Christmas Cookie and Candy Sale at the Faith Lutheran Church, 400 Ridge Street.

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 60th Annual Holiday Fair at Trinity Episcopal Church.  Lunch and pie will be served from 10:30am-2pm.  The fair features baked goods, Christmas decorations, crafts, and more. Pie and coffee will be served all day with a raffle at 2:00 p.m.

SantaDay310:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Santa Day at Shake Rag Alley. Due to the ongoing pathway/landscape repair at Shake Rag Alley, they have moved most of the Santa Day activities, including check-in and ticket purchasing to the Lind Pavilion at 411 Commerce St. Photos with Santa (10:00 a.m. – noon) will still be in the Cabinet Shop, but you’ll need to purchase your tickets at the Lind Pavilion.

9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. The UCC Church has a “Pop Up” store at the corner of High and Chestnut that includes a holiday bake sale, handmade scarves, Christmas decor, and other gifts.

2:30-pm and 7:30pm “The Nutcracker” ballet at the Opera House.  Tickets are available at Berget’s Jewelers or online at

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. GALLERY NIGHT.   It’s the final Gallery Night of 2016 with several new places to check out in downtown Mineral Point. The candles will be lit by 5 and many of the people will be lit a little later.  Most of the stores and galleries will be open all day. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your shopping list. Check out all the Gallery Night locations here:

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Candlelight Dinner at the Red Rooster serving Prime Rib Dinner, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Alfredo, and their full menu including Fresh Pasty. If would like to make reservations you can call 608-987-9936. Ask for Patti or Tammi.

DSCN63535:30 p.m. – The MP Kiwanis will be roasting chestnuts — and s’mores — on an open fire at the corner of High and Chestnut. Donations are welcome and will go to help the Kiwanis continue their restoration of the little stone visitor house at Water Tower Park.

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Nancy Schmalz and Caleb Mitchell will play music for flute, bassoon, and piano in the old bank building, 203 High Street. Limited seating will be available. Stop in and enjoy classical music.

6:30-9:00pm Caroling on High sponsored by the Mineral Point Historical Society. Gather at Cornish Heritage Park, next to the Opera House, at 6:30 p.m. or join along at any point. Feel free to bring a songbook.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakfast at Tony’s Tap to support the T-Riders Snowmobile Club and a toy drive to support UW American Family Children’s Hospital and Iowa County Social Services.

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Winter Bazaar On the Point! at the First United Methodist Church at the top of High Street includes a silent auction, cake walk, baked goods, sundaes, a chance to win wonderful prizes and a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

2:30 p.m. The Nutcracker

Festive shopping continues.  The sidewalk will be decked out with un-lit, wax-encrusted luminaria. Most shops and galleries are open on Sundays (all year!)

Make a weekend of it and get a room in one of the many charming guest houses in Mineral Point.

It should be a busy, fun weekend!

-Contributed by Lisa Hay

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New Stores Are Popping Up

Mineral Point has been fortunate to attract several new small retail businesses in the past year. This Saturday, when you come to town for Small Business Saturday here are some of the new faces and places to explore.

We’ll start at the top of High Street and work our way down.

img_1577The Glimmering Prize, 265 High Street (formerly the Pfotenhauer Law Firm) offers an interesting array of vintage, collectibles, objects and adornments. This shop and studio of Lorraine Reynolds (shown at left) will be open every weekend from now until the end of the year.

Windy Ridge Pottery, 262 High Street (see Windy Ridge Blows Into Town) is the downtown outlet of potters Joe and Christie Cole. Their locally crafted, everyday pottery makes a perfect gift for any occasion.

img_1582The Board Shoppe at the Green Lantern Studio, 261 High Street is Laura Cisler’s pop-up store (shown at right) featuring handmade tables, wood signs, and “eclectibles.”

bdaa3e71-2501-4393-9209-a9a7b93ac87aRobert Clements Studio, 237 High Street is an art gallery showcasing Robert’s photography and many fish assemblages, carvings, and fish on sticks. Robert is shown at left holding a fish that is no longer available because I purchased it, but he has many more to choose from.

Sugar Row, 234 High Street, is the working studio and gallery of painters Lorna Fillipini and Clyde Paton, in the newly remodeled building that had been M Studio for many years.  They will not be open this Saturday, but plan to be open for the December 3rd Gallery Night when they will feature the work of Bill Grover.

Cyndy’s Fudge and Ice Cream Shop, 231 High Street (see Fudge, and Ice Cream, and Pie Oh My!) serves up homemade fudge and pies. They also offer ice cream and other treats.

Deeconstruct, Recycled Fun – 214 High Street (see New Addition to High Street — Dee Construct) is the recycling assemblage emporium of Dee Hooks. Her shop also carries antiques, vintage goods and supplies for other mixed media artists.

14713642_1777282425822751_2362047023804770169_nAinsley Anderson and Sharon Rowe have transformed their antique shop at 315 Commerce Street. It is now called Driftless Kids, an adorable little shop focusing on toys, books and puzzles for kids. They also still have some antiques. Get there now before those are all gone.

Popolo Pizza 20 Commerce Street, (read We The Popolo) is a perfect pizza destination if you like hand-tossed pizza baked in a wood burning oven. If you have not met owners Sean Henninger and Wendy Dueling who moved here from Milwaukee over the summer, stop down and say hi.

While this Saturday is a good excuse to check out these new businesses and pop up stores (and to visit all your old favorites) the fact is you don’t need a holiday to get out and support the small businesses of Mineral Point.

Here in Mineral Point it’s more like Small Business Everyday.

Contributed by Lisa Hay

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