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MESSENGER -- Larry Schultz began working as an artist by painting horses.

“I realized the horse market is glutted with horse artists. Every horse owner has a relative who paints horses,” Schultz said. “I was doing all right, but I said I better expand. So, I said, ‘I’m from Wisconsin, so I’m going to paint cows.’”

He also added pigs and chickens to his repertoire and combined those talents into one poster that will be featured at this year’s Wisconsin State Fair, which will be held from July 31 to Aug. 10. Read the current edition here: http://www.server-jbmultimedia.net/CSI-JanesvilleMessengerSunday

Schultz was named the grand champion artist for the Wisconsin State Fairtastic Poster Art Competition, beating out 27 other artists. Schultz’s winning design is featured on the fair’s commemorative posters and postcards. Proceeds from sales of the poster and postcards will be used to help support youth activities at the fair.

“It’s pretty awesome since it’s the first (poster contest) they’ve ever had,” Schultz said. “To be chosen from 28 artists through the whole process, it feels special since it’s your own state fair.”

Participants were asked to submit a pencil drawing of their poster, and then the four finalists were asked to submit a color sketch of their design in April. The winner of the contest was announced in June. Each of the four finalists received $400, and Schultz, as grand champion, won $1,000.

Schultz said his design featured various aspects of the fair including animals, activities, food stands and carnival rides. He said it took him about 80 hours to create the design for the poster.

“I wanted to incorporate as many elements that could fit in (the design) for the state fair. When you think of the Wisconsin State Fair, you think of some of the big events like the big draft horse race, and, of course, since we’re the dairy state you would like to have a cow in there and all the other animals,” Schultz said. “You think of the food like cream puffs and chocolate covered bacon on a stick and cheese curds and all the rides like the gondola that travels across the fairgrounds.”

Schultz said he wanted to create a design that would promote the fair as an enjoyable event.

“I wanted it to look like fun. It’s pretty cool because the people who saw it after I was finished, that’s the first thing they said, ‘It looks like it’s fun,’” Schultz said. “I wanted to have it be moving and have a lot of action like it’s coming at you, so that’s why I basically have everything coming at you in the design.”

As grand champion, Schultz attended a vendor event and has been invited to attend the opening ceremony Thursday. Schultz said he also plans to attend many of the activities at this year’s fair.

“I try to get there as much as possible,” Schultz said. “Everybody loves the fair. Any kind of fair has a certain atmosphere. The state fair is the big one. Being it’s your own state’s fair, it’s always got it’s own unique qualities that’s different from the other state fairs. I think Wisconsin has a pretty incredible fair. It’s a great experience.”

Schultz said some of his favorite things at the fair include the animals, events and food.

“It’s a good thing I’m from Wisconsin, because I love milk and cheese,” Schultz said. “They really have a good lineup of shows and attractions that if you went every day you wouldn’t get bored. When you think of the fair, you think of farm life, but it appeals to everybody. They really make a special effort to do that.”

Schultz has worked as a professional artist for about 20 years and operates Sunny Beach Studios, 10240 N. Klug Road in Milton. Schultz has designed artwork for several other events, including the World Dairy Expo, Art Crawl in Hayward and a Midwest horse fair. He is set to do a painting honoring the 50-year anniversary of the World Dairy Expo in the near future. He said he also has set up a booth and sold his artwork at the dairy expo during previous years.

“That’s been my best show,” Schultz said. “I’ve sold paintings to people from all over the world at the expo.”

Schultz does commission paintings of people’s homes, pets, farms and relatives.

“It’s really enjoyable to have people give me photographs of their horse or their family,” Schultz said. “I enjoy hearing their stories and just imagining what it’s like to be a part of that experience and how much it means to them. I just like to make people happy with my art.”

Schultz also has painted sets for school plays and musicals.

“It’s all great. You go all the way from tiny, little paintings to great, big huge set pieces, and it all fits character and elements, and it’s all enjoyable,” Schultz said. “Some of it takes a little bit more energy than others. Painting the sets takes a lot of energy, because you’re up and down and splashing paint.”

Schultz has participated in plein air art events in several local communities, including the annual festival in Beloit.

“That’s always an adventure just doing it. It’s a great practice learning-to-see tool, because painting from life is different than painting from a photograph,” Schultz said. “Photographs are awesome for references, but you don’t see things in photographs that you see in real life.”

Schultz studied commercial art at Madison Area Technical College and received an art teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Schultz has hosted several art workshops and demonstrations. He said studying art is an ongoing process.

“It’s never-ending learning and growing,” Schultz said. “I don’t care where you are in your art growth, you always have further to go. That’s what’s cool about it. Unless you let it, you don’t ever have to let it come to an end.”

Schultz said he enjoys art, because it is a relaxing activity.

“You work for two hours, and it only feels like 10 minutes,” Schultz said. “You go into this zone. You’re just there, and you just enjoy it. The hard part is getting started, because I’m a natural born procrastinator, and I learned a long time ago the best way to get rid of my procrastination is once I make myself start it, the process is very enjoyable.”

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Wisconsin’s oldest and longest running art show, the Tallman Arts Festival, is celebrating Art in Nature as the 2014 festival theme. Located at the Rock County Historical Society campus on N. Jackson Street, the Tallman Art Festival provides art enthusiasts with more than 90 artists from all around the Midwest.

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Two grade school classmates who battled cancer when they were young will deliver a message of hope and sharing at this year’s Janesville Relay for Life.

Derrick Hoverson, 20, of Janesville and Shelby Robbins, 20, of Evansville are the honorary survivors for this year’s relay that will be held from 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, to 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Rock County Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave.

“Popular music is the soundtrack of our individual lives. Anything that ever happened to you, good or bad, was scored with the music you listened to.”

-- Dick Clark

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Dick Clark, longtime host of “American Bandstand,” said it best when he referred to music as “the soundtrack of our lives.” Who among us hasn’t flashed back in time when we hear a song that epitomizes a certain time in our life?

PHOTOS

“I know I always watched that show -- it was our MTV before there was such a thing,” said Cindy Halpren of Janesville. “Still those songs come on now and I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. And going to concerts was always a big thing in the summer.”

MESSENGER -- Autumn recently graduated from Craig High School and now plans to attend Blackhawk Technical College to study culinary arts.

Autumn, 19, of Janesville, said that opportunity would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the help she received from Project 16:49, an organization that works with unaccompanied homeless teenagers.

JANESVILLE— Jake Wisniewski held off Andrew Cobb to win the 48th Annual Ray Fischer Public Links Amateur Championship in a playoff June 29 at Janesville’s Riverside Park.

MESSENGER -- The Rotary Botanical Gardens will host its annual Home Garden Tour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 12. The tour will feature the gardens of eight Janesville homes. Attendees will have an opportunity to view different types of plants, landscapes and lawn decorations, as well as receive information about different gardening techniques.

MESSENGER -- There are no hushed corridors or muted color schemes in this area of Edgerton Hospital, but visitors can’t help to feel relaxed when they visit.

The hospital’s new healing garden features the sounds and colors of nature, offering those who visit an atmosphere that soothes the body and soul.

The garden was dedicated in June and offers a walking path, a pond, a waterfall, benches, sculptures, plenty of trees and perennial plants and open areas for physical therapy and wellness activities.

More hospitals and medical facilities are installing healing gardens to help patients get back to health, said Bonnie Robinson, director of the Edgerton Hospital Capital Foundation.

Read the current edition here: http://www.server-jbmultimedia.net/CSI-JanesvilleMessengerSunday

“Years ago, hospitals were focused on disease-based care … Today, health care facilities have changed from disease-based care to (centering) around patient, family and staff needs and preferences,” Robinson said. “Healing gardens are green spaces in health care settings, and they’re specifically designed to improve patient outcomes.”

Sunny Bowditch, marketing manager for Edgerton Hospital, said she has noticed many patients walking along the path of the healing garden to take in the scenery.

“We have met with many people who have said having access to the garden makes them feel more relaxed,” Bowditch said. “They can get out on their own if they’re able to. We have patients using their walker or we’ve seen them out here getting some fresh air. It’s just calming.”

The garden has been used by patients in the cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy and short-term rehab programs. Yoga classes, tai chi classes and other wellness programs also have been held in the garden.

The garden even serves as a social setting for patients who are recovering from surgery, said Susan Kindschi, cardiology and sleep study manager.

“For people who are struggling with heart disease or lung disease, it’s an opportunity for them to receive support from their peers,” Kindschi said. “It’s a non-threatening, stress-free environment. There’s benches where people can sit and enjoy nature. It’s a private and clinical setting.”

Staff members enjoy visiting the healing garden as well, Kindschi said.

“I think it benefits our workforce. There’s dragonflies, hummingbirds and lots of nature to watch,” she said. “Working in health care can be stressful, so we will take a lap or two around the garden. We get to view changes every day. So even if we can’t be out in the garden, we can look out our window and see nature and all the changes that are going on.”

Besides the patients and hospital staff, the healing garden also is open to the public.

“Anybody can come out here and use it and enjoy it,” Robinson said.

The garden also has attracted some wildlife visitors.

“We have a pair of mallards that keep the geese away,” Robinson said. “They are very territorial. We had some geese fly in, and the ducks chase them away.”

The garden is maintained by hospital staff and local volunteers, who help plant, install mulch, water plants and remove weeds.

Cindy Leverenz, master gardener and volunteer coordinator, said there are about 12 volunteers who help maintain the garden each week.

“The weeding is pretty non-stop. Once you plant a garden, they’re always present,” Leverenz said. “Everyone takes ownership of the garden. Some of the volunteers have adopted their own section of the garden.”

Leverenz said she enjoys working in the garden and interacting with the patients.

“It’s extremely peaceful. When you’re out there, you don’t have a care in the world,” Leverenz said. “We interact with people who visit the garden. We talk to them about the garden and the plants, and we explain to them what we’re doing.

“We’ve seen many people walk around the garden. I think it’s one of the best-kept secrets in Rock County.”

Leverenz said as the plants continue to grow, the garden will look even more impressive.

“The whole idea is the trees and the perennials will change with the seasons,” Leverenz said. “The plants will not be changed in and out themselves. They will just change with the season.”

Volunteers always are needed -- and they don’t need gardening experience, she said.

“If people have a half hour or an hour to spare, that would be great.”

Robinson said the hospital is raising funds to install a labyrinth and pergola in the garden.

“I have a very generous donor who has given funds to help complete the pergola/arbor,” Robinson said. “The donor has asked for matching funds. We are still raising funds to complete the pergola/arbor and labyrinth and remaining outer loop sidewalk.”

Residents can donate funding by having a tree, brick or bench dedicated to the memory of a friend or family member.

MESSENGER --  When two Waukesha girls allegedly stabbed their friend recently in an attack apparently inspired by the Internet Slenderman phenomenon, it left many parents worried and wondering what to do.

JANESVILLE -- Richard Snyder already has helped save one historic building in Janesville and now hopes to help restore another that’s been a downtown landmark for years.

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