According to a January 2018 release of a Culligan commercial, “Your whole house drinks.” Daughters, pets, clothes, skin, and pasta all drink water. It is a novel idea that clothes and pasta drink water, but they do! Celebrate Water coaxes us to see the unusual uses of water we seldom recognize. This edition focuses on the influence of water for two long- standing art organizations of Door County.
Peninsula Players Theatre is America’s oldest residential summer theatre staffed with working professionals. Founded in 1935 by the Fisher Family, the Players are now in their 83rd season. They moved to the present location, a former boys’ camp, in 1937. The Theatre in the Garden, as it is known, offers a forest setting along the waters of Green Bay where patrons enjoy the natural setting as they are transported to different cultures, circumstances, and communities through classic and contemporary drama.
Brian Kelsey, Managing Director of the Players, explains his passion for Celebrate Water. “It is through storytelling, visual arts, performances, and music that we can most effectively communicate the needs, urgency, and implications of many social issues.” Roughly 50 people work together during the season to produce the plays. “Everyone in our theatre company lives on property…Company members get to know everyone involved in the creative process because they’re not living an independent life off property,” Kelsey explains. Patrons and company members alike benefit from the beauty of Theatre in the Garden next to the waters of Green Bay. Whether it is enjoying a sunset, watching migrating birds, or taking in the serenity of nature, the location of Peninsula Players celebrates the waters of Door County on a daily basis. Additional information can be found at peninsulaplayers.com.
The Miller Art Museum is a year around art museum located in the heart of historic Sturgeon Bay fostering the creative life of the community. The museum offers art appreciation and education to all ages of the community. Gerhard and Ruth Miller founded the non-profit art museum in 1975. Striving to enrich the lives of Door County residents, the Miller Art Museum’s mission is to spark creativity through thematic exhibits, founder Gerhard Miller’s art , and the permanent collection of exceptional Wisconsin artists. Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead, Executive Director, states, “Our involvement in this initiative is to provide a platform for the celebration of our most treasured shared resource and to highlight its importance…to art and culture.” The exhibit, Our Water Stories, will continue through July 17. Meissner-Gigstead hopes patrons, “…will walk away feeling inspired to be better water stewards.”
Similar to Peninsula Players, the Miller Art Museum brings a unique perspective to Celebrate Water. Our Water Stories focuses on the fragility of Door County’s waters. Being situated on the Niagara Escarpment with a thin soil layer, fracturing bedrock and little natural filtration makes Door County particularly vulnerable to effects of pollutants. Through this exhibit, the community will hopefully become more aware of the water issues and strive to protect this natural resource. For more information on the Miller Art Museum, visit millerartmuseum.org.
The Door County Visitor Bureau provides the key to unlocking the secrets of Door County. Their webpage beckons with the possibilities of unwinding and switching gears. Its purpose is to bring visitors to the peninsula to shop, relax, enjoy great food, explore, and be charmed by The Capecod of the Midwest. According to Jack Moneypenny, “The waters create much of the natural beauty of the product we sell to potential visitors. Without the abundance of water, our destination would not have the attraction it does for many visitors.” The importance of the water makes the Visitor Bureau a natural partner for the Celebrate Water initiative. Aside from bringing in tourists, the Visitor Bureau emphasizes the importance of being good stewards of the land and waters to sustain tourism. Keeping the county healthy is a major priority for future generations of tourists as well as the local communities.
The Door County Visitor Bureau website provides a myriad of information that encourages even the locals to play tourist for a day or two. It is user-friendly and covers nearly every aspect of the county. The Visitor Bureau is the marketing arm of Door County whose mission is to bring visitors to Door County. The numerous water activities on their website are a great reminder of the importance of celebrating water. Check out doorcounty.com to see Door County from a tourist’s perspective. Whether you are a local, a seasonal resident or a tourist, you are invited to Celebrate Water – to help protect and preserve our most precious natural resource.
By volunteer writer Lynn Herman. Herman is a retired Gibraltar teacher and former school board member.