Open Studio

Open Studio

Join us on Thursdays at the IDEA Center for Open Studio! Recharge your creative energies, and enjoy the good vibes of other painters/poets/artists as you work. This is not an instructed experience but an opportunity for artists to have the time and space to work on their craft. OPEN STUDIO is free for IDEA Center members and $10/month for non-members.

Come and work on you novel, landscape watercolor, still life drawing, or whatever project you want to devote time to each Thursday from 1-4 PM at the IDEA Center!



CARVE is a maker meet-up for wood carvers of all abilities. Carvers meet every Monday and Wednesday morning from 9-noon at the IDEA Center.

Open Work Time

Open Work Time


The IDEA Center will be open each Wednesday from 8 AM to noon! Grab a tour, try out co-working, host a meeting, launch a creative project, or check out our makerspaces.

We are eager to get more community members engaged with this creative and collaborative new economy space!

Knitting Meet-Up

Knitting Meet-Up

This knitting meet-up is designed for knitters who have never read a pattern before, and have the basics down for knitting and purling. We meet every Monday from 6-7 PM at the IDEA Center.

Each week we’ll work through a number of rows, so everyone is getting to the same section at the same time. We can always change the pacing if needed.


- 1 skein of worsted yarn - should be at least 200 yards ( Many people use Red Heart )
- Stitch Markers
- A yarn needle to weave in ends


- A 16" circular needle - size 7 OR
- One pair of size 7 straight needles if hat is knit on straight needles and not knit in the round.
(make sure they are long needles, 14” + preferred) 

Vicki has been knitting since she was 8 years old, is an avid crafter and has taught knitting to people of all ages. In her spare time she likes to swim and play board games.



Artists of all abilities, styles, and genres are invited to participate in the IDEA Center’s figure drawing series, DRAW, taking place the first Wednesday of each month from 6-9 PM.

With featured themes and models both costumed and nude, DRAW lets artists practice their skills among friends. Part class, part social experience—artists should bring both their own supplies and snacks. Beer will be available for purchase.

DRAW is open to artists 18+ and costs $10. Sessions take place at the IDEA Center (1039B Ellis Street, Stevens Point, WI).

Space is limited to 20 artists. A facilitator will be available to share figure-drawing techniques and to answer questions. Limited easels are available for reservation. Email with questions. Walk-ins are welcome if space allows.



ArtsWalk is an annual community celebration of artistic expression. ArtsWalk includes performing street artists on Main Street and the Square, and art displays in storefront windows throughout downtown. Showcased throughout the evening are a unique variety of art forms, including pottery, chalk art, wood working, photography and jewelry. ArtsWalk runs from 5-8pm and is free and open to the public. At 7:30pm, community guitar players gather in the Square to participate in Mass Guitar Incident. Strummers of all levels and ages are invited. Band leaders and song selections change each year. Everyone is invited, so don’t hesitate to bring your friends and family along!

Additional information and updates are available on our ArtsWalk and MGI event page.

Interested in being an ArtsWalk artist or business?

ArtsWalk is a great opportunity for artists to display and sell their work. The event is not juried, participation is free, and artists receive all profits from sales made. We highly encourage artists and businesses to make their own arrangements. All types of art are encouraged, including visual art, live music, dance, and the culinary arts.

To participate:

Step 1: Make arrangements with a downtown business or local artist you would like to partner with.
Step 2: Email by May 1 with the name of the artist(s), their type of art, and the paired business name if you would like that information included on the ArtsWalk map.
Step 3: If you would like to participate but do not have access to a business or artist, email with your preferred contact information no later than March 30.

Additional information and updates are available on our ArtsWalk and MGI event page.



The Second City, Chicago's legendary sketch and improv comedy theater group, returns to Stevens Point each spring for a must-see night of comedy featuring some of Chicago's brightest comedy stars.

The evening serves as a fundraiser to support the continued operations of CREATE Portage County. Tickets go on sale in March.

Please click here for updates and additional information regarding the upcoming show.

The Second City: A Brief History

The Second City opened its doors on a snowy Chicago night in December of 1959. No one could have guessed that this small cabaret theatre would become the most influential and prolific comedy theatre in the world.

With its roots in the improvisational games of Viola Spolin, The Second City developed an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Founded by Spolin’s son, Paul Sills, along with Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, The Second City was experimental and unconventional in its approach to both theatre and comedy. At a time when mother-in-law jokes were more the fashion, The Second City railed against the conformist culture with scenes that spoke to a younger generation.

The Broadway success of Mike Nichols and Elaine May – members of The Second City’s predecessor, The Compass Players – put attention on the fledgling company. Soon, alumni of The Second City – such as Alan Arkin, Barbara Harris, Robert Klein, David Steinberg and Fred Willard – began to cement the theater’s reputation for developing the finest comedic voices of each and every generation. With the debut of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, populated by Second City Alums John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner, the theatre became internationally known for its ever increasing roster of comedy superstars.

Soon, Second City’s sister-theater in Canada developed its own sketch comedy series, SCTV, hailed as one of the greatest comedy series of all time and featuring an all-star cast that included Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty and Rick Moranis.

By the 1980’s, The Second City had become much more than a small cabaret theater on Chicago’s north side. In the middle of the decade, The Second City would begin a new era as Second City Toronto proprietors Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart would buy out Bernie Sahlins’ interest in The Second City Chicago and set in motion a new era of innovation for the company.

Today, The Second City continues to produce the premiere comic talent in the industry. From Mike Myers to Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert to Tina Fey – The Second City imprint is felt across every entertainment medium. Additionally, The Second City has grown well beyond a single stage to become a diversified entertainment company. Second City Training Centers in Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles teach thousands of students every week; four touring companies perform Second City revues all over North America and abroad; Second City Communications has become an industry leader in bringing improv-based methodologies to the corporate sector; and Second City continues to create unique media in television, film and the digital realm.



a social tasting experience that pairs local beers with innovative street food



a challenge to write, shoot, edit, and score a film in one weekend



Phantom Gallery Parties turn rough spaces into temporary art galleries for one night only. This event features great art, great food, and great entertainment in an unexpected location somewhere in Portage County that is revealed the day before. 


As a part of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, our fourth installment will take place September 8, 2017 at a location to be revealed the day before. The theme will showcase wildlife and landscape art that is contemporary, colorful, and abstract. Stay tuned for more info!


Our third installment took place February 18, 2017 at McZ's Brew Pub in Rosholt, WI. Centered on the theme THAW, this experience sought to draw party goers out of the dark and cold of February into a warm night of creativity and color.  It was brought to life by select visual artists: Karolee Bulak, Thomas Moberg, Jennifer Kate Battaglia, Dani Schafer, Heidi Oberstadt, and Ashley Pfannenstiel. 


CREATE Portage County hosted its second Phantom Gallery Party in partnership with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. As the official after party to the Energy Fair, the event took place Friday, June 17, 2016 from 8pm-12am in Amherst Junction.

Both the theme – Earth & Industry – and the location were selected to enhance this partnership, which sought to incorporate art into the rich tradition that is the Energy Fair. The second Phantom Gallery was brought to life by the progressive bluegrass band Armchair Boogie, and local visual artists Boleslaw and August Kochanowski, Angie Hall, Logan Erickson, Joy Ratchkramer, Ahna Butt, and Robert Rosen.


CREATE Portage County hosted its first-ever Phantom Gallery Party in partnership with Ignite as a part of YPWeek.  The event took place Friday, April 22, 2016 from 7-9pm in Stevens Point.

As part of YPWeek, the first Phantom Gallery featured emerging artists in our community, including Hector Acuna, Melissa Helene, Ryan Wanta, Brooke Newman, and Craig Schumacher.  



local poets perform original works as part of riverfront rendezvous



CREATE is excited to announce a shift to our film programming. In lieu of the film festival, we have partnered with the UWSP Film Studies program to launch Spectral Microcinema, a new series that will provide more regular access to a higher caliber of independent film. Having already secured works by some of the most innovative filmmakers, Spectral Microcinema will expose Central Wisconsin to the latest experiments in film.

Think microbrew. What microbreweries are to Miller and Budweiser, microcinema is to blockbuster movies. These small-budget independent films have more freedom to explore what is possible in the art form.

Screenings are free and open to the public. They are held at the IDEA Center (1039B Ellis Street). Beer is available for purchase. For more information, please click here.

Spectral 03: Weird Animation
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Join us as we turn on the projector and fill the screen with a selection of strange, surreal, and humorous animations from around the world. We'll be screening a range of award-winning underground and experimental works that use techniques ranging from hand drawn and hand painted frames to 3D and stop motion animation.

Spectral 02: Jodie Mack
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our second screening featured a selection of colorful, exploding, ecstatic films by Jodie Mack, an experimental animator who received her MFA in film, video, and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning. Musical documentary or stroboscopic archive: her films study domestic and recycled materials to illuminate the elements shared between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design. The works unleash the kinetic energy of overlooked and wasted objects and question the role of decoration in daily life.

Mack's 16mm films have screened at a variety of venues including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images Festival, Projections at the New York Film Festival, and the Viennale. Named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 2014 "25 New Faces to Watch" and one of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' YBCA 100 in 2015, she currently works as an Associate Professor of Animation at Dartmouth College.

Spectral 01: Hauntings
Thursday, October 20, 2016

"The dream was haunting me: standing behind me, present and yet invisible, like the back of my head, simultaneously there and not there." -Neil Gaiman

As the air begun to chill and the nights grew longer, the time was ripe for our debut screening. We turned on the projector and watched a great collection of video work from around the world that dealt with the theme of "hauntings." 

Featured artists included Josh Lewis, Stacey Steers, Orr Menirom, Karen Yasinsky, Kalpana Subramanian, Adam Sekuler, Jerome Boulbes, Mattis Dovier, among others.

Thank you to the businesses that make our film programming possible!

Presenting Sponsors
Blenker Building Systems
Ellis Construction

Supporting Sponsors
Boldt Company
Donaldson Company
Ki Mobility
Nummelin Testing Services
Team Schierl Companies



CREATE Portage County, in partnership with Jim Oliva and WWSP 90FM, holds its annual fundraising event, Trivia Unplugged, each September at the Noel Hangar in Stevens Point.

Trivia Unplugged is an old-school trivia contest created by Jim Oliva and John Eckendorf. Players are not allowed to use internet, phones, books or notes to answer questions. The Mid-State Sisters of Skate roller derby team collects trivia answers; a cash bar and buffet food service by Rockman's Catering is available for purchase for players and spectators.

Teams are allowed to have 10 members in the competition area and unlimited reserve players in the spectator area at the event. The total number of teams allowed to register is limited.

Team Information & Rules

Upon arrival, teams need to check-in and pick up their registration packet. Teams that have not registered in advance may do so at this time if there are openings available. Registration and check-in must be completed by 2:30 p.m. Registration fees are $160 in advance and $180 the day of the event.  Teams may have up to ten members in the competition arena and unlimited reserve players in the spectator area.  The total number of teams allowed to register is limited, therefore early registration is encouraged.

The contest starts promptly at 3:00 p.m. with a maximum of ten team members allowed at each table in the competition arena. Alternate team members may be substituted at any time between questions.  A team member leaving the competition room must hand off his or her badge to a substitute team member.  No one may enter the competition area without a badge. Questions will be projected on a screen.  Teams discuss answers among themselves without divulging information to other teams.  The music played will help obscure voices.

Each question will last the length of one song.  When one song is over answer sheets will be collected, the answer announced, and the next question will be asked.  There will be a break at the end of each hour.  During the break, the team ranking will be announced.  At the end of the contest there will be a final rundown of the teams.  Trophies will be awarded at that time.

Reminder:  NO electronic devices (including cell phones) are permitted in the competition area.  It is recommended that phones and other electronic devices are left in vehicles or with a spectator.  Players may leave the competition area at any time to check messages, but may not re-enter until the current question has ended. No paper, pens, or pencils, other than what is provided by CREATE, is allowed.