Arts, Culture, and History

What's a Basecamp without Art, Culture and History?  Music? From Broadway Musicals at The Grand Theater to Jazz on the River to Blues at Big Bull Falls Blues Fest to Americana at Whitewater Music Hall.  Art?  Three world-class museums, galleries and community events like Chalk Fest, ArtRageous and amazing Murals abound.  Central Wisconsin has an abundance of creativity for you to enjoy!  Diverse cultural influences include Hmong, Germanic, Nordic, Polish, Latino and new immigrants from around the world. Of course, indigenous peoples such as Ojibwe (Chippewa) and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) were the area's first settlers.


The Wausau area’s thriving arts community offers an intriguing variety of visual arts.  You can always count on a fascinating exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum, including their annual Birds in Art exhibition with more than 120 all-new original artworks from around the world interpreted in oil, watercolor, the graphic arts, bronze and stone.  A total of ten to twelve exhibitions throughout the year bring the world of art to north central Wisconsin at this always free museum.  The Center for the Visual Arts has rotating exhibits that showcase the works of local and regional artists in the Caroline S. Mark Gallery and the newly renovated Vault Gallery. The new Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art is already becoming a Central Wisconsin treasure, providing unique exhibits and experiences. WMOCA inspires visitors from throughout the nation to understand and appreciate the art of our time.


If you are looking for some unique activities or culture you can find it here in Marathon County.  Music abounds at venues like Intermissions to the 400 Block outdoor stage.  There is ballet, classical symphony, local community theater and agricultural enrichment.  Wausau is also home to the Hmong Museum, From Laos to America. This museum tells the story of the Hmong culture and how they made their way into Central Wisconsin. You can also visit the Wausau World Market or check out the annual Hmong Festival in August.


Few people have had as great an impact on Wausau/Central Wisconsin as Walter McIndoe.  When McIndoe arrived in the late 1840's, the area was called Big Bull Falls.  He played a major role in renaming the town Wausau, a Chippewa word meaning "a far away place," and became known himself as the Father of Wausau.

McIndoe was also instrumental in establishing Marathon County on February 9, 1850.  At that time the county stretched all the way to Lake Superior, and Wausau was named the county seat.  Today, Marathon County is the largest of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and continues to prosper from the efforts of those in the past.  More history can be found at The Marathon County Historical Society.

Wausau and Central Wisconsin has a variety of theater and performing arts to entertain audiences both young and old.