Artspire La Crosse, wi

Artpire 2017 – the best year yet!

Pump House Regional Arts Center announces the fourth annual Artspire will be the best year yet! While the first three annual Artspire events commenced on a Friday evening, 5:00 pm, and concluded the following Saturday at 5:00 pm, this year, for the first time ever, events will continue into Saturday evening with the inaugural Artspire Happy Hour held in participating downtown La Crosse, followed by an Artspire Encore held on the Artspire grounds. Already the largest arts celebration in downtown La Crosse, Artspire continues to grow in size, activities, participants and attendees, and is now recognized by the Wisconsin Main Street Awards as the “Best Special Event” in Wisconsin.

Artspire 2017 is June 9 & 10, and will be held in and around Pump House Regional Arts Center, and throughout surrounding downtown La Crosse. Artspire 2017 attendees can expect to find an increase of events and activities from past years, including over 50 visual artists exhibiting and selling their work, a demonstration tent added to the interactive arts area, additional featured community projects, an increase of open-air entertainment including music, dance, performing arts, theater, and a brand new outdoor stage just for storytelling & poetry.

Local food vendors will be present both days.
Admission is Free.

Artspire La Crosse is an event of the Pump House Regional Arts Center.  More information about Artspire, including a full schedule of events, our sponsors, and more can be found on the Artspire website:, or by contacting

“Artspire is different from other art events for its emphasis on engagement of the community. Not only is it a free event but there is an effort to bring all segments of our community to the event as artists, performers, food vendors and patrons.” -Don Smith, Chair of City of La Crosse Arts Board

“Artspire is a community event, put on by the community, for the community” – Eva Marie Restel, Chairperson of Artspire La Crosse 2015 

Artspire La Crosse 2017

Artspire Kick-off – Friday, June 9, 5:00-10:00 pm

The Artspire Kick-off event begins Friday June 9, 5:00 pm with annual Street Dance Celebration on King Street. This year, the Street Dance will spill into the Pump House/Piggy’s parking lot and is led by Ho Chunk singers and dancers presenting their competitive and interactive Woodland-style dance.

Following the Street Dance Celebration, Artspire kick-off events continue on the Brickl Bros. Stage with a performance by Shoeless Revolution, 8:00 – 10:00 pm. Born in the belly of the La Crosse music scene, Shoeless Revolution has developed a unique brand of Funky-Pop Dance-Rock. To date, the band has performed for the better part of 12 years, playing hundreds of shows all across the country. Shoeless has released two full-length albums “Speak Up” and “From the Inside Out,” and is continuing to bring brand new music to the stage. If you’ve never seen Shoeless Revolution live, you’re in for a high-energy experience that is sure to leave you feeling lifted, connected, and dancing the whole way home.

The Pump House courtyard will become an outdoor beer garden, featuring the brews of our local Pearl Street Brewery. Food vendors will be present.

Artspire – Saturday, June 10, 10:00 am-5:00 pm

Doubling in size from previous years the Artspire Art Fair & Sale is held outside the Pump House in King Street, and spilling over into the neighboring River Crossing Square parking lot. Over 50 visual artists will be present to share their work, while providing an opportunity for the community to purchase and support local art. Artists will also be juried for a chance to win one of the Hale-Skemp Art Awards, sponsored by the Hale-Skemp Foundation. Winners receive a ribbon and cash prizes. The Hale-Skemp Art Award winners will be announced at 2:00 pm on the West Stage. 

The Brickl Bros Stage features a nonstop line-up of performers such as La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, Applause Dance Academy and Heart of La Crosse Comedy Troupe. The Brickl Bros. Stage is located at the west end of the Pump House/Piggy’s parking lot.

The River Walk Stage highlights a talented line-up of literary artists including professional storytellers and regional poets and writers.  This outdoor stage is located on the west side of the Weber Center for the Performing Arts, and faces the Mississippi River.

The Weber Center Stage features performances in the Veteran’s Theater including Posh Fitness, Tales by Terry, LIVE from La Crosse and others. The Weber Center for the Performing Arts is located at 428 Front Street, right across the street from the Pump House/Piggy’s parking lot.

The Pump House Stageis located inside the Pump House Dayton Theater and features the freshly written material of La Crosse Public Library’s, “Dark La Crosse Radio Show,” and Perspective Wall, an interactive arts project. 

Interactive Arts stations can be throughout the entire Artspire grounds, both inside and outside. Interactive Arts events include virtual reality arts experiences, a filmography project allowing attendees to gain a deeper understanding of film media literacy, and several youth focused activities such as face painting, bubble paint, and percussion tubes. Chileda Schools is bringing interactive chalk art for attendees in wheelchairs. An Artspire Go-Pro will be passed around throughout the day allowing attendees to get personal footage of the event. The footage will be compiled and screened outdoor later in the day.

NEW THIS YEAR! The Demonstration Art Area will feature a tent sponsored by Gerhard’s First Supply, who will provide a Kohler bathtub which will be painted by local artist Sarah Pederson. A second demonstration area will feature other local artists showcasing their talents in both visual and performing arts.

Downtown La Crosse Businesses have joined in the Artspire activities and are hosting arts-related events in and around their downtown businesses including art demos, featured art exhibits, wine and tea tastings, and live music. Cameron Park Farmer’s Market is also hosting arts events both Friday night and Saturday.

Also Appearing are several exhibiting nonprofit organizations, providing the Artspire audience the opportunity to learn more about the fun and versatile La Crosse community, and to get more information about several upcoming events. Also appearing is Great River Folk Festival, United Fund for the Arts & Humanities, Women Writers Ink and more.

NEW THIS YEAR! Artspire Happy Hour – Saturday, June 10, 5:00-7:00 pm

Regular Artspire events will break, and participating downtown businesses will take over the festivities, offering arts events such as live music, food and drink specials and more. Artspire Happy Hour is added to encourage attendees to explore La Crosse’s dynamic downtown. Artspire grounds will reopen at 7:00 pm.

NEW THIS YEAR! #Artspire Tour & Contest – Both Days!

Attendees will be encouraged to visit participating downtown businesses, take a photo or selfie, post to social media, tag the business and use the hashtag #ArtspireLaCrosse. Each post is equal to one entry into the contest, and a chance to win Artspire swag and Cloud Cult’s new CD, “The Seeker.”

NEW THIS YEAR! Artspire Encore – Saturday, June 10, 7:00-10:00 pm

True to our word in making Artspire 2017 the best year yet, for the first time ever Artspire events will continue into Saturday night. The encore event will commence with a screening of the Artspire Go-Pro footage taken by Artspire attendees earlier that day. Returning artists CLOUD CULT will take to the Brickl Bros. Stage with an electronic set, followed by an outdoor screening of their new award winning feature length film, “The Seeker,” complete with a live performance of the film’s score, and will keep La Crosse Artspired well into the evening!

All good things must come to end, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t last as long as creatively possible!

Featured Projects

1.       The People’s Flag of La Crosse challenged local artists of all skill levels and ages, from professional to K-12 students, to design a flag for the City of La Crosse. The purpose of the project is to connect the people of La Crosse through a shared symbol of unity and togetherness, and promote our creative culture. The final flag design will be unveiled and displayed Artspire, June 10, 2017. The School District of La Crosse has incorporated the project into this year’s curriculum, providing students the opportunity to create a flag design of their own. The students’ designs will be on display at Artspire, Saturday, June 10.

2.       The Artspire Public Art Project strives to bring the work of our regional artists into our public places. Artists are invited to submit up to three pieces of 2D work to be juried by team of artists and arts enthusiasts. The winning works will be unveiled and displayed at Artspire, Saturday, June 10, after which it will be installed at La Crosse City Hall where it will remain until June 2018. Winning artists receive a ribbon and a $200 cash prize.

3.       In celebration of Artspire, La Crosse Arts Initiative presents the 3rd annual Chalkfest. Chalkfest is a sidewalk chalk competition involving participants of all ages and skill-levels. Winners are voted on by Artspire attendees. Cash prizes are awarded. Registration is free open to the public. Contact Mike Martino for more information or to register:

Local Food Vendors will be present both days. Artspire food vendor presence has more than doubled from previous years and will include Big Boar Smokers, Ole’s Pizza Company, Crepes Jeanluc, Five Star Egg Roll, River Rocks Coffee, Main Squeeze Lemonade, Big Mama’s Gyro, and more!.

Artspire Sponsors make this annual event possible and include Gundersen Lutheran Health System, First Supply, La Crosse Area Conventions and Visitor’s Bureau, Hanson & Associates, The Waterfront Restaurant, The Charmant Hotel, The Hale-Skemp Foundation, Mooresmiles Dental, WXOW – Channel 19, Midwest Family Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and many more. Thank you to our sponsors!

The Artspire Volunteer Leadership Team

Eva Marie Restel, Co-Chairperson
Brian Fukuda, Co-Chairperson
Toni Asher, Pump House Executive Director
Robin Cosby, Volunteer Coordinator
Bonnie Hafemann, Visual Arts Coordinator
Lee Hafemann, Logistics Chairperson
Jacquelline Olson, Marketing Chairperson
McKenzie Olson, Event Coordinator
Cameron Segura, Interactive Arts Coordinator
Ryan Soberg, Entertainment Chairperson

McKenzie Olson, Event Coordinator
Pump House Regional Art Center
119 King Street
La Crosse, WI 54601