In this unprecedented time when everyone can use a little inspiration and good news, The Warehouse Art Center in Eagle River has announced it will honor two very special patrons, John and Vicki Langer.

In recognition of their service and commitment, The Warehouse has named the ceramics studio The Langer Studio. 

After serving 35 years as physician’s assistant at  Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua, John retired, and he and his wife, Vicki, moved to St. Germain. Along with three horses and four dogs, they share Bear Paw Pottery and Riverview Farm at a quiet spot on the backwaters of the Wisconsin River.

According to John, he is a teacher who pots and a potter who teaches. Once a science teacher, he walked past the art room and was drawn in by the activity. He was mesmerized as a ball of clay was slammed onto a potter’s wheel and transformed into a beautiful vessel. 

That first glimpse was all it took, and John was hooked. After taking a community night class, he eventually purchased a potter’s wheel and began his long learning curve adventure. That was 1971. 

John recalls the path was at times frustrating, yet he describes his journey as a siren’s song, luring. Over the decades, John has spent thousands of hours working on his craft and still sees no end to the avenues to explore. For John, potting is truly a lifetime hobby.

Vicki is an equestrian. Art has many forms, and the partnership that one shares with a dressage horse is just that — art. 

Vicki grew up on a horse farm. Her family bought and sold more than 900 horses. She has competed in different disciplines such as barrel racing in high school and showing quarter horses. For 30 years Vicki served as a national horse show judge. Currently she competes with a German Warmblood in dressage.

John enjoys sharing and teaching pottery as much as making it. The Warehouse offers a place for him to teach, a place to volunteer and contribute to the community. 

Upon joining the board of directors in 2015, John was asked to put together a ceramics studio and program. This was just after the organization acquired the building at 107 S. Railroad St. The stage was set for what would constitute countless hours of work, pulling together equipment and accepting donations, finally culminating in the studio that exists today. 

Still a work in progress, this creative space offers six electric wheels, one kick wheel, two kilns, a slab roller, and hand-building work surfaces. 

“The Langer Studio is the center of a vibrant community of potters with a full spectrum of abilities, directions and interests; a place where lifelong works in progress collaborate in a mix of dedicated instruction and open studio time,” said a Warehouse spokesperson.

Beyond ceramics, The Warehouse is a community platform for the various arts. Vicki enjoys being a part of the diverse activities offered and sees volunteering as a way to be a part of supporting something special in the community. She often jokes, “If I didn’t volunteer, I would not likely see much of my husband, John, as he seems to be there most of the time!”

Executive Director Donna Murray-Tiedge said that The Warehouse is grateful for the Langers and proud to celebrate their generosity by naming the studio after them. 

“We all have many currencies to share: time, talent, money. John and Vicki generously share all three. Post-quarantine, be sure to drop in and check out our Langer Studio. We invite you to join John and Vicki and a host of others who put the ‘community’ in The Warehouse Community Art Center,” she added.

The Warehouse Community Art Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and serves as Eagle River’s artistic hub, providing education, programming and events that explore all aspects of creativity for all ages. 

For more information and a schedule of events, visit eagleriverart.com.