VIVA Viroqua Independent Visual Artists

First Thursday Artists Reception

featuring the handcrafted natural furnishings of Ken and Michelle Workowski for the month of May

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

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


Ken and Michelle Workowski

VIVA Gallery’s monthly First Thursday artist reception will be held on May 4 and will feature the beautifully crafted natural furnishings of Ken and Michelle Workowski. The gallery sponsors the People’s Choice Award at the Driftless Area Art Festival, and the Workowskis were the winners of the award at last year’s festival. VIVA is doubly pleased as Ken and Michelle are member artists.

Ken and Michelle have always had a fascination with the raw beauty in nature—the absence of straight lines and the patterns and curves traced and formed by the elements. As their business, aptly called The Nature of Things, has evolved over the years, they have taken that raw beauty and transformed it into practical furnishings, including willow and wood furniture, birchbark frames, poplar bark baskets, lamps and lamp shades. Many of the materials they use come from their 50 acres of land near Viola.

In a world increasingly full of concrete, steel and electronics, the Workowskis understand that we all have a need to connect with the natural world. Their work is not only satisfying because of its strong design, but also because pieces often evoke an emotional response. The tactile pleasure of touching rough bark or smooth wood, the visual treat of intricately woven willow or laced poplar, the appreciation of the clever uses of nature’s palette in creating truly unique pieces of furniture—all are sensations that stem from their varied pieces. You are guaranteed to feel a connection.


Please Join Us May 4th at Rooted Spoon for 1st Thursday: Turkey

Bar at 5:30; Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

TO START: CELERIAC & BEETS W/ YOGURT - roasted local celery root & beets w/ yogurt, green garlic, mint, & house-made rhubarb molasses
SPINACH WITH OLIVES & FETA - Keewaydin spinach w/ Kalamata olives, Nordic Creamery sheep feta, & local oregano
LAHMACUN - spiced Pine Knob lamb & tomato flatbread
BEEF SHISH KEBAB & PILAF - onion & yogurt-marinated Big River Beef shish kebabs grilled on skewers & served w/ rice & chickpea pilaf, local ramp-radish relish w/ sumac, & green garlic tahini sauce OR
GOAT CHEESE & GREENS PASTRY - chevre, ramps, spinach, watercress, & nettles stuffed into flaky puff pastry (VEGETARIAN MAIN BY ADVANCED REQUEST)

YOGURT CAKE WITH ROSE & RHUBARB - fresh-baked yogurt cake w/ rosehip & rose petal-infused local honey & rhubarb; served w/ 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 $23, not including tax or gratuity.

Upcoming Guest Artists


June- Christine Myhr- painter
July- Paul Hatlem- photography
August- Jackie Reeves- watercolor
September-Diane Brown-potter