VIVA Viroqua Independent Visual Artists

First Thursday Artists Reception

Featuring watercolorist Pete Sandker for the Month of August

An artists reception will be Thursday, August 2nd from 5:00- 7:00 pm.

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







Artists Statement

Pete Sandker

Pete grew up on a goat farm in a valley down under the hills of southwest Wisconsin. His parents taught him about wildlife, edible plants and tree species, but most importantly, they gave him the freedom to teach himself. Much of his childhood was spent exploring the woods with his older brothers, and they all attended school in a small building in the country with two grades to a room. One can imagine young Pete staring out the window at the trees and surrounding countryside. His love of nature and the outdoors is evident in the wide range of flora and fauna that appear in realistic detail in his work.

Pete's paintings are done in a unique watercolor style consisting of very small, concise patterning in lieu of the usual layering and washes. They invoke a sense of wonder associated with the natural world, along with an obsessive attention to detail.

Plants and animals intertwine and combine to become entirely new creatures while the wind becomes a tangible shape, swirling through leaves and over various lakes and waterways. His paintings illustrate a truly unique perspective on an entirely different world, imagined in a tapestry of succession of familiar haunts where the artist himself is rarely seen.

When he can, Pete spends part of the year with friends in Maine and Massachusetts, so nautical themes are as much a part of his body of work as local ones.


Please Join Us August 2nd at Rooted Spoon for 1st Thursday: Central Vietnam



TO START - Bánh Xèo:  rice & mung bean crepes w/ Rushing Waters smoked salmon, crispy bacon, local greens/herbs, & peanut dipping sauce(vegetarian version available by advance request)


Tomato Farci Salad:  spiced St. Brigid’s Meadows pork-stuffed local roma tomatoes & local butter lettuce/cucumbers/cherry tomatoes/basil/shiso

Beef & Rice Noodle Salad:  Organic Prairie beef tenderloin w/ Driftless Organics fresh white onions/peppers, Vietnamese herbs, rice noodles, & roasted peanuts


DESSERT - Coconut Rice Pudding:  rich, creamy coconut rice pudding w/ toasted coconut & fresh fruit;  served w/ Kickapoo Coffee or mint 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


September- Susan Cushing- walnut ink painting and Joanne Shird- poetry. A collaboration of poetry and walnut ink drawings
about the Old 131 Trail in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

October- Elliot Medow

November and December- Artisan Market for the holidays featuring local artists along with Viva members



Jan - VIVA themed artists
Feb - Salem Minegar- ink, collage
March - Mike Lind -paintings
April - People’s Choice award Driftless Area Art Festival
May - Winding Road Tour artists
June - Natalie Hinahara - prints/paintings
July -
August - Karen Innis-sculpture
Sept -
Oct -
Nov/Dec - Holiday Artisans