VIVA Viroqua Independent Visual Artists

First Thursday Artists Reception

Featuring woodworking artists Ken and Michelle Workowski winners of the People’s Choice Award at the Driftless Area Art Festival in 2017.

Viva members will also be participating in a member show titled "A River Runs Through It"

An artists reception will be Thursday, January 4th from 5:00- 7:00 pm.

This month First Thursday's reception will be followed by a dinner next door at Rooted Spoon.


Table tiltled A River Runs Through It by Ken Workowski

Liz Quebe

painting by Liz Quebe

Jerry Quebe

Cutting Board by Jerry Quebe


Table tiltled A River Runs Through It by Ken Workowski

“A River Runs Through It,” A Member Show at VIVA Gallery

Every year, VIVA Gallery takes a month to celebrate the talents of its members with a themed show. Within this year’s show, the work of members Ken and Michelle Workowski will be highlighted, as last September they again won The People’s Choice Award at the Driftless Area Art Festival. The People’s Choice Award is sponsored each year by VIVA Gallery, and members are thrilled that the Workowskis have earned this honor for the second year running. The member show theme is “A River Runs Through It” and its centerpiece is a dining room table of the same name beautifully crafted by Ken Workowski. The opening will occur on the gallery’s First Thursday event on February 1st.

Ken and Michelle live and work on 50 acres of land near Viola. Together they have built a business—aptly called The Nature of Things—that uses materials from their land and that of others nearby. They transform these gifts of nature into exceptional home furnishings and furniture, including willow and wood chairs and tables, birchbark frames, poplar bark baskets, lamps and lamp shades. The lines and patterns of the wood guide their design, as in the case of the table called “A River Runs Through It.” The wood top is red cedar, salvaged by Ken while working on a grassland restoration project with the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. The cleared cedar logs came from Tunnelville Road just outside of Viola, and now because of Ken’s knowledge and talents, what was once invasive is now inviting. Ken collaborated with Nick Smolen, a metalwork artist from the Westby area, on the table’s base.

Other VIVA member artists are following this theme, in paintings, glass, ceramics, wood, metal and fiber. To give you a taste of what will be on display, M’Lou Wilkie will present a new stained glass piece depicting a river from the Driftless landscape. Pita Daniels will have a large contemporary acrylic painting representing the spirit of a river in bold contrasting colors. Liz Quebe’s oil painting is of the small “river” that runs through their land, water that also inspired Jerry Quebe’s cutting board of black walnut with sapwood accents curving down its center. Mark Herrling has created a hand-painted linocut called “River Town” inspired by the small towns along the banks of the Mississippi River, and Diane Dahl’s “As the Water Flows” is a mixed media bas relief of paper mache, clay and epoxy.

Please Join Us February 1st at Rooted Spoon for 1st Thursday: Vietnam


TO START - chả giò & dồ chua: St. Brigid’s Meadows chả giò pork & wood ear mushroom fried spring rolls w/ local carrot/daikon dồ chua pickles & nước chấm dipping sauce; lettuce, fresh herbs (vegetarian/GF version available by advance request)
Bap Cai Luoc: Driftless Organics braised green cabbage w/
St. Brigid’s Meadows hard-boiled egg fish sauce & house-fermented chiles
Char Siu Spare Ribs: Organic Prairie bbq spare ribs slathered in
5-spice/soy/honey & slow cooked; served w/ rice, scallions, & sesame
Lemongrass Tofu - local lemongrass-marinated baked tofu w/ baby bok choi & house hoisin sauce; rice
DESSERT - Coconut Pandan Waffles: coconut milk & pandan-infused waffles w/ caramelized banana, honey syrup, & cashews; Kickapoo Coffee or tea


As usual, please make reservations by emailing dani@rootedspoon.com or by calling (608) 632-2120. Doors and cash bar (with some wine specials and cocktails to compliment the menu, of course) open at 5:30 p.m. for the VIVA Gallery open house next door. Dinner at 7:00 p.m. Family-style seating is first come, first serve. But, if you have a group of 4-6 or more, we’ll happily reserve a table for your group, if requested when making your reservation. The meal is $25, not including tax or gratuity.
Seating is limited, so PLEASE let us know at least a day ahead of time if you need to cancel your reservation, so we have time to give your seat to someone else.
***Please let me know in advance if you are in need of a vegetarian or gluten-free meal.***

Upcoming Guest Artists


Feb - Michelle & Ken Workowski Peoples Choice award recipiants ofthe Driftless Are Art Festival
along with a themed show: A River Runs Through It by VIVA Members

March - Rob Horwich -

April -

May - Winding Roads Art Tour Artists

June -

July - Connie Minowa -