Several neighboring communities are collaborating on Arts Midwest Folkefest, and our primary partner is based in Rice Lake.
Rice Lake (population appx. 8,500) is the largest community in Barron County and a center for commerce, manufacturing, health services, and education. Located in the beautiful Red Cedar River valley, Rice Lake has many lakes and trails. The city grew as a lumber town in the late 1800s and later developed significant agriculture and dairy industries. The city was formally incorporated in 1887, but the local newspaper, The Chronotype, has been published since 1874.
Cumberland (population appx. 2,100) also expanded due to lumber and sawmills. The city was incorporated in 1885 and expanded quickly after a railroad was built through the area in the 1880s. Today, Cumberland hosts a variety of businesses including 3M manufacturing, which has operated here since 1950.
Shell Lake (population appx. 1,300) is built along a beautiful, clear lake. It is also home to a unique Museum of Woodcarving and the Shell Lake Arts Center, which has provided arts experiences to the community since 1968. Shell Lake existed as a village since 1880 but formally incorporated as a city in 1961.
Barron (population appx. 3,400) started in 1860, and its lumber industry grew quickly along with its flour mills, wool mills, and several saw and stave mills that expanded with the city’s connection by railroad to Minneapolis and Chicago. Today, agriculture, dairy, and outdoor industries remain strong alongside arts activities at the Barron Community Center.
The University of Wisconsin-Barron County (UW-BC) is one of 14 campuses of the University of Wisconsin Colleges, which are spread across the state of Wisconsin and focus on the first two years of college education. UW-BC has appx. 600 full- and part-time students from across ten local counties. It awards an Associate of Arts & Science degree as well as a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences degree. The University of Wisconsin Colleges provide a quality, affordable liberal arts education that prepares students for success and promotes lifelong learning, leadership, and responsible citizenship.