Wausau's Artrageous Weekend provides opportunity for artists to grow

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- Wausau's 30th annual Artragous Weekend was held from September 7-8. It featured artists in four locations, including Marathon Park, the Woodson Museum, the Center for Visual Art, and the 400 block, where the 55th annual Wausau Festival of the Arts continued Sunday.

"We have artists in all media," said Coordinator Zoe Morning.

The festival has more than 100 juried artists who come from as close as Wausau and far as Florida to show their art. Because of construction on the YMCA, the festival has found a new home on the 400 block.

"We're kind of liking it, and might keep it up in years to come,” Morning said.

The festival includes emerging artists who have little experience showing their art, and helps them get a taste of being a full-time artist.

"Our biggest claim to fame is Melissa Mason-- who is best in show. We kind of kicked off her career-- she was an emerging artist here four years ago,” Morning said.

Mason was the emerging artist in 2015, and selected by the jury the following year.

"It was at this festival that I made that decision and I made the big leap into full-time professional artist,” said Mason.

Originally from Stevens Point-- she's now able to bring her art around the country.

"So I just did two shows in Florida, and then I was able to go down to Texas in April, which was really exciting. I did a really big four-day show in Fort Worth," Mason said.

Melissa's art is photo-realistic wildlife and done on a scratchboard, where she peels back the black layer to reveal the white underneath. She uses reference images, but said she also sees the animals up close.

"I am a big hiker, so I will go out and see them in the wild. And I am a photographer, so I will take some photographs to use," she said.

Despite being named best of show, she is impressed every year by the work of the other artists at this festival.

"The amount of hours that people put into their work every single day, and the amount of heart that gets put into the work every single day," Mason said.