Most artists in the area show their craft in about 20 art shows a year, this year local artists are down to one or two shows. The 21st annual Earth Wood and Fire art tour is a go this weekend, around Lake Mills and the surrounding area, despite the pandemic.

Local artists will be looking to make up for those losses this year with the annual tour through Lake Mills, Cambridge, Deerfield, Johnson Creek and Jefferson.

The self-directed driving tour, in its 21st year, will be Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The tour is hosted by the Clay Collective, an organization of nine local potters, and the Cambridge Arts Council, a local non-profit focused on economic development.

“We really struggled with whether or not to move forward with the event,” said Laurie Struss, president of the Cambridge Arts Council. “We had some Lake Mills artists pull out and five more artists decided they had to close their studios to in person shopping.”

The decision to go ahead with the tour wasn’t an easy one, Struss said safety was at the forefront of their decision-making process.

“We decided we could move forward because there are 13 different locations and because it was so spread out and artists could move things outside. We decided we could safely socially distance and have art.”

The tour will feature; clay, fiber, painting, metal smith, jewelry and woodworking.

“Most artists have 20 shows a year this year they’ve had maybe one,” Struss said. “That’s very hard for artists. They need to eat this winter.”

They will have masks and hand sanitizer available and masks will be required on the tour. If a site is busy, Struss is asking patrons to try a different studio and circle back later.

The tour features eight Lake Mills area artists, though only five of the artists shops will be open, the others will offer their work for sale online or by contacting the artist.

“There is a solid contingency in Lake Mills you can just about walk to from downtown,” Struss said.

Some artists have opted to have online only sales during the tour. For full information on all tour participants and locations go to earthwoodandfiretour.com.

“We’ve got great things for people to see. We have to support local artists, so they will be here next year.”

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