By Tom Ganser


On a bright and steamy day in late August, creative juices were flowing non-stop, as artists painted 14 full-size picnic tables in the Whitewater outdoor seating area on First Street between The Book Teller and Pinnacle Legal Services.

The artistic event happened on Aug. 21 and consisted of members of the Whitewater Arts Alliance, local arts-oriented businesses as well as other other community groups.

Participating in the activity were Karolyn Alexander, Whitewater Arts Alliance; Deborah Blackwell and student artists from Studio 84; Kristen Burton, WWA and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Kellie Carper, Chamber of Commerce; Jake Leiser; Karen McCulloch, The Book Teller; Taylor McDarison, Whitewater Cultural Arts Center/WAA and Arttaysia, LLC.; Bonnie Miller, Whitewater Community Foundation; Christine Munz Pritchard, City of Whitewater; Peggy Strong, UWW; and Marguerite Willman, WAA.

Additionally, Rick and Jeanine Fassl assisted Burton in prime painting the tables the week before, and donated four umbrellas.

The Community Development Authority covered paint costs while Leiser, of Jake Leiser Painting, donated painting equipment.

Cathy Anderson, Economic Development Director for Whitewater, sought the assistance of WAA volunteers in this project.

The city created the outdoor seating area for people to consume food from local restaurants to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure.

For restaurants that are only doing take-out, the seating area encourages customers to continue visiting these establishments.

“We want people to continue to be able to enjoy the downtown,” Anderson said. “The idea was to paint the tables to make the area more engaging and inviting.”

According to Munz-Pritchard, Director of Neighborhood Services for Whitewater, the city wants to assist in making a safe environment for additional seating.

While many restaurants are continuing their focus on carry out and delivery orders to keep business alive, some have opened their doors and are slowly allowing patrons to enjoy a sit-down meal.

Many restaurants are working at a much lower capacity than usual. Not being able to have a full restaurant is still very troublesome for many owners. This space was created to help the local restaurants in and around the downtown area.

The picnic tables are spaced out and visitors will be expected and encouraged to continue practicing social distancing and keep six feet apart from others in this space.

This space will be treated like a local park, following park hours of 6 a.m. to midnight, and all park rules will be enforced.

This temporary park will be open through Saturday, Oct. 31, or until weather permits.

For more information or questions, contact Munz-Pritchard at (262) 473-0143 or


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