New art options are offered at Thunder Willow Community ArtsDonna Ernst has a long history in Wisconsin as a native of tiny Cloverland, just a mile from the coast of Lake Superior. This week, after receiving encouragement her family and friends, Ernst opened Thunder Willow Community Arts in Hudson.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
Donna Ernst has a long history in Wisconsin as a native of tiny Cloverland, just a mile from the coast of Lake Superior. The town was founded by her grandfather. Ernst went on to graduate from UW-Superior majoring in art and psychology.
“My dream back then was to be an artist,” said Ernst, about the heady years after college. “Of course it is hard to make a living being an artist so I pursued a career in human services, which is my career today and will be until I retire.”
She never stopped creating art in her free time.
“My mom used to say I was making art before I could walk,” said Ernst, who has lived in Hudson since 1997. “Today, my art it is more about a place to be comfortable, to have fun.” After exploring nearly every media from photography to pottery, Ernst discovered glass.
“I started with fusing, moved to stained glass and eventually settled on ‘torching’,” said Ernst, who creates beads for nearly anything. “I have dreams of someday learning the art of glass blowing. Glass is wonderful because of the endless palette and it is warm when you work. It has become a Zen thing for me. It is my place to relax.”
For years, Ernst has wanted to set up a business that could give people a taste of art and more.
This week, after receiving encouragement her family and friends, Ernst opened Thunder Willow Community Arts at 1615 Maxwell Drive, Number 2.
It features a full coffee bar, a gallery space and classes, lots of classes.
Ernst’s idea is to offer reasonably priced introductory classes in nearly every area you can think of from pastels to sand painting.
The studio area is a large spacious area, which includes a kiln as well as all of the equipment instructors and students will need for the classes.
“Our primary focus is to create a comfortable place where people can explore different art forms,” said Ernst. “Studio time is available. We will be hosting parties, group activities, kids classes and girls night out events.”
Instructors are all area artists who all have a passion for what they do.
The coffee bar features smoothies and baked goods as well as a complete line up of hot and cold coffee drinks. In the retail gallery original art work created by the instructors is for sale.
Thunder Willow Community Arts is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday; on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Wednesday.
For more information and a complete class schedule you may visit their website at www.thunderwillow.com or call (715) 808-8034. Ernst is looking for instructors as well. If you have a talent you want to share, give her a call.