About Us

We believe that artists are a crucial leavening agent, generating the creative energy that our community needs in a rapidly changing and perplexing world. Three Lakes is not immune to such global phenomena as climate change, invasive species, the technology revolution, economic collapse. We need to be resilient and innovative-—qualities nurtured by exposure to, and participation in, the creative arts. As a “creative community” we will be better able to embrace change, to grapple with new challenges and circumstances.

It is our dream to build “a magical place with creativity humming around it, an intimate, welcoming space for the whole community to play together and remember how fun it is to be creative, foolish, inspired–how to take chances, make mistakes, and enjoy doing it

Who Are We?

TLCFA was established in 2003 by a group of people who wanted to make the arts more visible in Three Lakes, to showcase local artists, and to encourage residents young and old to make creativity part of their lives. It is now a nonprofit organization with a 14 member Board of Directors who meet weekly; a roster of 75 artists; 275 dues-paying members and about 100 willing and hard-working volunteers.

This nonprofit, community project functions and grows without support from any tax dollars.

Our mission is to celebrate and promote the arts in the Northwoods. In other words, we want to connect people to the arts and make the arts a defining feature of our community. We do this by facilitating and fostering the enriching interaction between artists and the community we live in.

TLCFA has found many ways to celebrate our artists and to involve the community in art projects. While we are serious about the vital role art plays in the cultural and economic health of our town, we also want art to be fun. Programs and activities:

Community Involvement: When TLCFA was formed, we invited the entire town to a brainstorming session where everyone was encouraged to offer program suggestions. We continue to have public meetings as well as “meet-the-artist” receptions to keep the community informed of our activities. Community support has been, and will continue to be, an essential part of our mission.


Art Gallery: Located in the recently renovated TLCFA, we display the works of ‘Wisconsin’ artists. The gallery changes artists on a monthly schedule and provides a venue for hem to profit- from their work.


Theater: With 107 seats, dance floor, stage and movie screen, the theater is able to provide many events. Live music is extremely popular and we strive to provide a variety of high quality entertainment Movies and documentaries have been well received. Events from sing-a-longs to cooking contests have been in demand when paired with some other entertainment .We have a popular and intimate “Bistro” area with popcorn, snacks, soft drinks, wine and beer. The theater is available for other community groups and has worked well with the library, LW (Learning in Retirement), schools. The theater recently upgraded to a digial projection system and new sound system


Art on Main: On the 2nd Saturday every August TLCFA holds a juried art show and sale. The park is filled with artists exhibiting their work ( and sometimes demonstrating their techniques),  food, beverages, and music.  Attendance has been excellent, and many artists say it is their favorite summer event.



Outdoor Art: Two murals commissioned by TLCFA have contributed to the aesthetic appeal of our downtown. One, covering the formerly blank side wall of a landmark restaurant, depicting 13 historic buildings; the other shows a scene from our new Three Eagles bike trail.




Children’s Programs: We offer eight free arts and craft classes for children during the summer.kidsart
We also support an annual arts enrichment program in the Three Lakes school district that reaches
approximately 300 students.


Adult Programs: Our adult workshops, where artists share their skills and techniques (for a modest fee), occur throughout the year. We also develop art tours to museums and galleries in Wisconsin. Visits have included the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Kohler Art Center and the Ford Theater, the Wildwood Film Festival in Appleton. These field trips have been productive with shared ideas and a bonding experience for our members and board!

Press Coverage: We are aggressive in using the Three Lakes News, the Rhinelander and Minocqua papers, and two online news sites to keep the public informed of our activities. To increase public awareness of the artists among us, a detailed profile of a local artist featured in our gallery is published each month in the newspapers. We have also developed an email list that informs people of our happenings which works well with our webpage and Facebook account

Where Are We Going?

With exhibit space and an intimate auditorium for the performing arts and films, the restored building established a permanent home for TLCFA. It will contribute to the revitalization of the business district, create a focal gathering spot for members of the community both young and old, and act as a magnet for artists and art tourism. Operation of the movie theater and live entertainment will generate a revenue stream to support other TLCFA programs. The “Affair of the Arts” Fall Ball, is the major fundraiser of the organization and supports operating costs.

The building project is central to our mission of connecting people to the arts. By creating a year-round gallery and theater, we have enhanced visibility of the arts in the community and encourage residents to expand their experience of art in all its many forms.

In the future—

  • Film Festival: We are currently planning our third film festival for June 2015.
  • Theater:  We are actively seeking small theatrical companies to make use of the theater.
  • Music: TLCFA is committed to bringing a variety of quality musicians to the area. Classrooms will enable artists to share their skills with individuals who wish to explore their own creative abilities. We have a large undeveloped area to expand into an open space for workshops.

Our attention is thus focused not solely on summer tourists who attend our warm weather events, but also on the year-round residents of Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties. Among those year-round residents, is a significant population of school-age children. We believe that the arts must be a vital part of any educational program, building the creative skills that students will need as productive adults. Among our youth-oriented programs is support for arts education in the Three Lakes School through an artist-in-residence program, free arts and crafts classes during the summer and cooperative fundraising projects with student groups.