Welcome to August

Erik and Tom Kelly at Tequila Point in 2019.

There are people whose art speaks to us in such a way that we are changed forever. In our nook of the Driftless Area, we are fortunate to be surrounded by artists in many media, from music to literature to architecture to cuisine to the many visual arts.

We lost one of the greats when Tom Kelly passed away in late June. Tom embodied the whimsical, magical spirit that emanates from Mineral Point’s eclectic historic architecture and bucolic hills and valleys. He was among the artists who arrived and settled in as the city was becoming a destination for makers who saw something in Mineral Point’s rough-and-tumble exterior and wanted to be a part of its heart. If you were lucky enough to spend time with him in his studio inside Longbranch Gallery, or be at the bar when he wandered into one of his favorite watering holes, you know he succeeded in spades.

We’re all lucky that Tom’s spirit lives on in the art he left us as his legacy, which we can still enjoy via his website, www.tomkellyartwork.com, and the Fans of Tom Kelly Art Facebook page. There’s also the art that Tom inspired, like the poetry by Justin O’Brien that you’ll find in this month’s issue (p. 17). And there’s also the idea of the resident artist as ambassador for our cities and region that Tom modeled, as did artists like Bruce Howdle, Roland Sardeson and Judy Sutcliffe. While there will never be another Tom, or Bruce, or Roland or Judy, there are many working artists who live among us throughout this richly creative region. You need only turn the page of this month’s magazine to see opportunities galore to meet and be inspired by them.

Additional inspiration is provided this month by Ainsley Anderson, Steve Fuller, Doris Green, John Heasley, Evan Larson, John McWilliams, Jennifer Moore-Kerr, Justin O’Brien, Patrice Peltier and Kathy Steffen. We’re grateful to each of them for sharing their voices, and to the volunteers who made distribution of the magazine possible: Joni and Rick Graves, Mark McCauley, Brian Richter and Nick Schweitzer. 

Please consider supporting our advertisers (see p. 3), whose financial support makes the printing of these pages possible. 

Whether you enjoy this month’s issue in print or online, we wish you happy reading.