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Featured Artist - Mary Heinze

Mary Heinze is the featured artist showing her watercolor paintings at Trails Lounge in Portage from December 29-mid February.  Her 20+ watercolor paintings capture her life on the Heinze family dairy farm as well as portraits of family, friends, and architecture.

Below are her biography and a photo took at the opening of her exhibit.

After spending $25 in Christmas money on supplies, I started watercolor painting over twenty years ago.

I graduated from Kirkwood High School, St. Louis, Missouri, and then from UW-Madison in Home Economics Journalism, Foods and Textiles.

My only art classes were at the UW: Basic Drawing, Elements of Design, Art History and Creative Stitchery.

I have taught art classes at MATC-Portage and have sold my artwork for many years at the World Dairy Expo.

Presently, I participate in events at the Portage Center for the Arts and the Wisconsin Regional Arts Program (WRAP).  

I help out on our family farm with my husband, Tom, and son, Mark (Beth) Heinze.  I also have two daughters, Jen (Bradley) Martens and Julie McKibben as well as six grandchildren.

Mary Heinze

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of WI

A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to raise money for Columbia County Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance!



African Art show

At Trails Lounge, 18 authentic African masks, and photos of people of Rwanda from the collection of Dr. Stuart Taylor and his wife, Melody Brooks-Taylor, R.N. 

The Land of 1,000 Hills

Dr. Stewart F. Taylor, Jr. is a Portage native and the 5th generation in his family to practice medicine in Portage, WI. When he retired from private medical practice in 2012, he and his wife, Melody Brooks-Taylor, an Operating Room nurse, joined the Human Resources for Healthcare (HRH) Program and moved to Africa.

The HRH Rwanda Program, an off-shoot/brain child of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, is a collaboration between a consortium of American Universities who have a strong emphasis on Global Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health.
US Faculty partner with Rwandan Faculty for teaching and mentoring with the goals of improving medical education, improving the clinical experience for students and developing subspecialty training for physicians.
Dr. Stewart, as he was known in Rwanda, and Melody lived in the former Belgian colonial city of Butare, home of the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Rwanda, now part of the University of Rwanda. As faculty at the College of Health Sciences at UR, Dr. Stewart worked with the Department of Surgery mentoring Surgical Residents and Medical Students. Melody worked with the nurses and students at the University Teaching Hospital at Butare (CHUB).

Rwanda is a sovereign state with a democratically elected government. Because of its elevation and mountainous terrain, Rwanda is known as the “Land of 1,000 Hills.” Situated in the African Great Lakes region in Central Africa, along with neighboring Uganda and DRC, it is home to the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla made popular by Dian Fossey’s “Gorillas in the Midst.” Since the tragedy of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the people of Rwanda have worked together tirelessly to rebuild their country in the spirit of forgiveness and “never again.” In the Kinyarwandan language, the work KWIBUKA is used to signify “Remember, Unite, Renew” and the youthful country is well on its way to being a rising star in Africa and the free world.

During their 3 years living and working in Rwanda, Dr.Stewart and Melody fell in love with Rwanda and her people. They took hundreds of photos and acquired a world-class collection of ceremonial carvings from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), some of which are now on display at the Trails Lounge Supper Club in Portage.

“Rwanda is an amazing place. We cannot express our gratitude to our Rwandan friends, colleagues, and neighbors whom we met during our time living there and working with the HRH Program. Because of their wisdom and the kindness shown to us, we have become wiser, more compassionate human beings and better global citizens. It was truly a life-changing experience.”

New Photography at Trail’s

Sherry Benson of Portage now has her photographs on display at Trail's Lounge. 

Sherry Benson Photographer

Sherry is a 2007 graduate of Portage Turner High School. She lives with her parents, Sandy and Emery Benson, in a 125-year-old remodeled schoolhouse in Caledonia.

Most of her photos were taken in Caledonia. She has chosen to show spring pictures (mostly flowers and farm animals) to boost our mood for the approaching season. She has many other nature shots at home. Her collection includes more animals, insects and landscapes in all seasons, ranging from summer sunsets to winter blizzards. 

Sherry Benson Hummingbird

“I have loved the outdoors since I was little. Then, as a graduation present, my parents gave me my first camera. That was a Canon digital Power Shot. I took pictures with that for three years; then I upgraded to a Canon digital Rebel XS. I love to take pictures, mostly of wildlife for the patience you have to have, and then of sunsets for the beauty that comes with it. Photography right now is just a hobby for me. Maybe someday I will become a professional photographer, but as of now it's just something to do in my spare time.”

Sherry Benson Pig photo

AII of the photos are for sale. The show can be seen daily from 4 to 10 p.m.  (closed Sundays and Mondays)