There was a time in Door County before art galleries, but there was never a time that people couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the peninsula. When the snow melted from the fields and the pink and white blossoms popped on the trees, the temptation was there to record it on paper or canvas. —Lorraine Mengert, Door County’s Art History
There were children’s classes, photography workshops, pottery, jewelry, painting, drawing, sculpture and fabric printing classes. Instructors from around the country taught credit and non-credit courses...The atmosphere was free, serious, experimental and conducive to getting a lot of work done. The darkroom was used continuously. There were always lights coming from the jewelry room. Raku firings at night, sculpture being cast in the yard or a kiln being opened… and the continuous exchange of ideas and information between students, faculty and artists in residence… Madeline directed the school, set the tone and made it work…
Tourtelot ran the Peninsula School of Art until in 1971 when she retired. She donated three acres of land and two studio buildings to the Peninsula Arts Association (PAA) in 1978. Under the direction of dedicated art student and tireless volunteer, Betsy Guenzel, the School was reorganized. With the help of her husband Paul Guenzel and other members of the PAA's Art School Committee, the Peninsula School of Art became a non-profit organization and continued to thrive. High caliber faculty established Peninsula School of Art’s reputation for excellence in fine arts instruction.
By 1995, the success of the growing school signaled a need for more classroom space and year-round availability of arts instruction. Through hard work, generous donors and dedicated volunteers, the dream of a year-round school and the Guenzel Gallery became a reality.
From its grassroots beginnings over 40 year ago, Peninsula School of Art has grown to be one of the most dynamic, important centers for visual arts education in the Midwest. Today, the School welcomes nearly 2,000 students ages three and up and includes four painting studios, children’s art studio, a ceramics studio, metals studio, darkroom, art resource library, lecture room, administrative offices and the landmark “round barn” of the Guenzel Gallery.
In 2005 and 2006, Peninsula School of Art acquired two adjacent parcels of land— a total of 7.5 acres—giving us a 10-acre campus. We have begun to plan for future expansions and facilities additions, allowing us to serve a growing audience and offer improved programs and equipment to our students.The campus is open to the public 9am-5pm Monday through Saturday and is fully handicapped accessible. The School is closed on Sundays, but you are welcome to enjoy the gardens.