Our History

Your Performing Arts Connection

Origins of Arts Council

  • Originated January 23, 1976
  • Incorporators were Marie McIntosh and Don C. Nepper
  • Articles of Incorporation filed with Kenneth M. Hill, Attorney at Law, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
  • Marie McIntosh was initial registered agent
  • Original name was Community Arts Council of South Wood County, Inc.
  • Period of existence –“perpetual”
  • Original office – McMillan Library, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Purpose of Council

  • To promote and encourage the existing cultural and educational organizations of South Wood County and its environs.
  • To assist in the establishment of new cultural facilities in fields where none now exist.
  • To coordinate the cultural and educational activities of the South Wood County and its environs so as to avoid overlapping and duplication of efforts.
  • To receive and disburse funds to implement the foregoing objectives.


  • The number of directors shall be fixed by by-law but shall be not less than three.
  • Such corporation shall be operated without stock and not for profit.
  • Tax exempt entity
  • Dedicated to educational purposes
  • No substantial part of the activities may ever be to influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise.
  • In the event of dissolution all assets will be distributed for educational or charitable purposes.

Initial Board of Directors

  • Marie McIntosh
  • Don C. Nepper
  • Catherine Meils
  • Nancy Baldwin
  • Patricia Teas
  • Arlene Engelhardt

Articles of Incorporation Filed

  • January 27, 1976
  • Wisconsin Secretary of State, Douglas LaFollette
  • Filed under the provisions of Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes
  • Duplicate of Articles recorded in the Wood County Register of Deeds on February 3, 1976

Official Seal

  • February 4, 1976
  • Secretary of State affixed his official seal
  • At the Capitol in the City of Madison
  • Granting powers and privileges conferred by the Wisconsin Statues for the purposes stated and in accordance with said Articles
  • In 1978 a part-time staff position was approved at an hourly salary of not more than $5
  • In the fall of 1978 Mrs. Dorothy Alexander donated $500 to the Community Arts Council.
  • In the fall of 1978, the Honorary Life Membership was established as a new donor category for those who give $500 or more. Mrs. Alexander is the first Life Member.


  • Amended January of 1994 and restated in March of 1994
  • Article I and Article II were combined in Article I

Amended Article 1

  • 1.1 The name of the corporation is The Arts Council of South Wood County, Inc.
  • 1.2 The principal office of the corporation in the State of Wisconsin shall be located at McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin, or at other locations within or without the state as the Board of Directors shall lawfully designate, or the affairs of the corporation may require from time to time.

Location & Hours

  • Arts Council in lower level of McMillan Library
  • Hours were Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • In June of 1982, days were changed to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • In 2000, the Arts Council moved to the Central Wisconsin Cultural Center on Johnson Street.


  • Wisconsin Arts Board
  • Arts Midwest
  • Alliant Energy
  • Community Foundation of Greater South Wood County

Past Performance Sites

  • McMillan Library
  • West Junior High
  • Residencies held at various schools in the area

Previous Activities

  • HopaTree Festival
  • Artists in Residency
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theatre
  • Childrens’ Theatre Workshop
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • Arts Council Awards of Excellence
  • Smithsonian Traveling Arts Exhibit, “Witness to our Time” co-sponsored with McMillan Library

Arts in Education

  • We still have a strong mission in education…Larry Gatlin (March 2018), Broadway’s Next H!t Musical (January 2018), Kids From Wisconsin (July 2018)


Arts Council MascotThe Arts Council mascot, Sadie, was born in 2005, a result of local artist Jeanne Weymouth’s involvement on the Arts Council Board. Her name is an acronym for Singing Acting Dancing Invigorating Exciting. Sadie travels around the community promoting upcoming events at local businesses and even has her own Facebook account!

Recent Changes

  • Bylaws revised in March, 2010
  • New logo done by The Goodness Company



images-arts_council_history_page_18_image_0004Latest Location

  • July, 2009
  • 1040 8th Street South, Suite 101
    Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
  • Corner of Dewey Street and 8th Street South
  • Renting the north office space of the North Central Real Estate building (We appreciate NCRE’s support of the arts!)


Current Performance Site

The Performing Arts Center
1801 16th Street South
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494