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Take the stress out of planning your Bayfield getaway. On the blog, you'll get the inside scoop of where to go, what to see, and what to do. 

Explore and Be Inspired at the Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour

It’s no secret that Bayfield is a place of inspiration. The landscape alone is awe-inspiring. Bayfield sits on the edge of one of the world’s most incredible freshwater lakes. Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands have been a muse for generations.

Isaac and I (Mollie) felt the allure of Bayfield when we started our family and felt inspired to buy Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel.

Bayfield has set the stage for us to not be your standard motel. In Bayfield, there are no chain or big box stores. Walmart is 45 minutes away in Ashland, and the closest shopping mall is 2 hours away in Duluth.

When you walk down the streets of Bayfield, you’re greeted by vintage storefronts. Each store is filled with art and gifts inspired by our area.

Local artists have helped bathe our businesses in pieces of art you won’t find anywhere else. Here you’ll find pieces that create conversations and tell stories – pieces that bring originality to your home. Not the latest trends that make your house look like everyone else’s.

Bayfield artists over the years have helped put Bayfield on the map. They’ve used their gifts to transform our area’s beauty onto paper, canvas, film, music, and clay. Plus there’s no better way to showcase the Bayfield art scene than the 59th annual Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour.

Bayfield Art Scene

For years Bayfield has attracted artists from all over. It was here in 1960 that potter Bob Eckels was looking for a special place to raise his family and share his gifts. He and his wife Lu opened Eckels “Pot Shop,” the first of its kind in the area. It’s currently the oldest operating pottery studio in Wisconsin.

From here, the Bayfield art scene was born. Since then, other potters flocked to Bob’s studio to learn the art of throwing pots.

Other artists have found their home here, including painters, jewelers, musicians, photographers, and authors. Over the years, they have created a strong art community by sharing their gifts and inspiring others.

The Bayfield art scene has never been more vibrant than it is today.

Larger organizations continue to lay a solid foundation for the Bayfield art community, like:

  • Big Top Chautauqua
  • The Madeline School of the Arts
  • Artists in Residence Programs
  • The Wild Rice Retreat

With these organizations fostering our love for creativity, the art scene in Bayfield continues to grow.

Wild Rice Retreat Entrance

Bayfield Artists

The Bayfield art scene, of course, is home to many renowned artists. Watercolor artists include Austin Miller, the late Mary Rice, and Karlyn Holman.

Other Bayfield artists include potters like Dede Eckels, Andy Falconer, and Jonathon Wahlberg.

Silversmiths and other jewelry makers use materials found on the shores of Lake Superior, including agates, beach glass, and other stones. These materials allow Bayfield artists to make unique pieces you couldn’t find elsewhere. You can finally bring that one-of-a-kind touch you’ve been craving into your home.

Jeff Renieke and other area photographers are eager to showcase Bayfield and The Apostle Islands in a special point of view we’re sure you’ll love. Photographs you can take home to bring a piece of Bayfield home with you – so the scenery never ends.

Bayfield artists want to share their talents and gifts with you no matter what medium is used.

Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour

The Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour is a fine arts show celebrating Bayfield and other area artists. Held in Bayfield’s historic Memorial Park, you can expect to see up to 75 artists sharing their gifts with you.

Perfectly placed on the shores of Lake Superior in downtown Bayfield, you’ll weave your way from booth to booth, discovering a unique selection of:

  • Wood carvings
  • Sculptures
  • Glassworks
  • Paintings
  • Pottery
  • Jewelry and more

This celebration goes beyond the park and includes maps of area galleries where you can:

  • Watch Eckels Pottery Studio fire pottery and a kiln opening
  • Be inspired by the stokes of Austin Miller’s watercolor scenes of Bayfield
  • Marvel at the handcrafted jewelry at Silverwaves Studio

Maps will be provided to participating studios eager to share their craft with you. And help you find a special one-of-kind souvenir to take home.

Handmade jewelry Bayfield, Wi

Art Escape

The Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour is just the beginning. The Bayfield Festival of the Arts is the kick-off for a new 9-day event called Art Escape.

The Art Escape exclusively celebrates Bayfield County and Madeline Island artists. These artists make their living by crafting new pieces in their local galleries and studios.

This hands-on event includes open houses and art demonstrations.

Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of an apple orchard learning to watercolor. The grass swaying in the breeze, the sun shining, and your brush strokes bring life to your white canvas.

On Madeline Island, Wood’s Hall Gallery and Studio will feature demonstrations including:

  • Weaving
  • Jewelry-making
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
  • Sketching

The Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour and the Art Escape will be an incredible way to celebrate the Bayfield art scene. A piece where you can find one-of-a-kind art pieces that speak directly to you.

Seagull Bay Offers Easy Access to the Bayfield Festival of Arts

Seagull Bay is an ideal place to stay when visiting the Bayfield Festival of Arts. Located on the edge of town, you’ll have an easy 10-minute walk to Memorial Park, following the shoreline of the Brownstone Trail.

Or enjoy a demonstration of ancient Korean and the Japanese art of Raku pottery-making at Eckels Pottery Studio, only 1-2 blocks away. There’s nothing like holding a beautiful mug while sipping your coffee and looking out onto Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Especially if it’s one you watched the potter craft.

Area galleries and studios are all under a 30-minute drive, with most being 10 minutes or less.

Our traditional motel accommodations offer old-school charm with modern touches and a minimalistic design. It’s been fun restoring our slice of Bayfield. Since 2017 we’ve been working on revitalizing our 1940s motel. We’re working hard to keep its charm while updating and modernizing Seagull Bay to be a place you want to return to.

Some of the rooms in Bay West, our sister property, have original floor-to-ceiling murals. These murals depict Native American scenes hand painted by area artist Rita Vandeventer. Rita’s paintings celebrate the rich history of the Ojibwe people that have called this area home for centuries.

Come and be inspired by area artists and find a one-of-a-kind treasure that stirs your soul.

At the end of your art-filled day, you can enjoy sitting on the balcony outside your room and reflect on the talent and beauty surrounding our area.

The Bayfield Festival of Arts & Gallery Tour is held on Saturday, September 10th, and Sunday, September 11th. The Art Escape extends this celebration of Bayfield through Sunday, September 18th.

Come relax and be inspired with us! BOOK NOW.

Your Hosts,

Mollie, Isaac, Axel, RIdge, and Banks


Festival of Arts and Gallery Tour – Bayfield

Art Escape

Eckels Pottery

Austin Miller Studio and Gallery

Silverwaves Jewelry

Woods Hall Gallery and Studios

Xperience Photography

August 21, 2022

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