By Shannon Hoyt —

With the holidays there comes a creative spirit that is both enlightening and rejuvenating. This year, the Menomonie area will be kindling that spirit with an event to appreciate art and craftsmanship.


Local and regional artists participating in the Sixteenth Annual Fine Arts and Crafts Fair, held at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, are eager to present their original artwork to the public.   


“I think the beauty of this fair is that you do have a lot of craftspeople and artists that are constantly making new pieces, making new work or only selling one-of-a-kind [art],” said Wedding and Special Events Manager for the Mabel Tainter, Jennifer Joyce Rentmeester, a former graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Stout with a degree in Interior Design.


Rentmeester has managed the fair for three years, as well as displaying her creations alongside other artists.  


Another familiar artist, Sarah Weber, a UW–Stout alumni with a degree in Studio Art, will be participating in the fair for her fourth year. She is the owner of Sarah Weber-Silversmith, where she creates her own handmade jewelry.


“[The fair] is important for the community because it keeps customers and other artists inspired and exposed to new and different ideas,” said Weber. “As a jewelry artist, I always say that each piece of jewelry is special; we attach meaning to pieces, whether it is a deeper meaning they attach to the piece or something reminiscent of the past.”  


Although there are a variety of items for sale, the fair is not just a time for shopping, but also a time to experience.


“I think what brings people in is that the Mabel is one of the 15 most spectacular theatres in the world and it has received a lot of world-renowned recognition lately,” said Rentmeester. “So what’s really amazing is just to have people in this building for something other than a show, showcasing that we do more than just performing arts, that we really do celebrate all kinds of facets of the art community.”
The fair is a two-day event beginning Friday Nov. 20 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free for all who attend.

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