The Center for the Visual Arts in conjunction with the Wausau/Central Wisconsin CVB will present the “International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival Poster Contest Exhibit” from July 21 – September 17 at the CVA in the NEW Vault Gallery, according to a CVA news release.

The Opening Gallery Gala will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 13.

The festival will take place over three days, September 15, 16, and 17 at The 400 Block in downtown Wausau and along adjoining streets. Additionally, a variety of tours, demonstrations and other activities will be offered at several locations throughout the area, with shuttle buses transporting attendees to the many off-site attractions. Festival attendees will receive maps and programs outlining the schedule of activities along with punch cards to encourage them to explore the off-site activities and to be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

The CVA invited artists to submit original festival poster designs that incorporated certain criteria and elements for the exhibit. The exhibit features acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastel, paper, digital, mixed media, and photography artists.

The “International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival Poster Contest Exhibit” has cash awards. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 along with 20 poster prints and one framed print of their poster design.

Guests of the exhibit will be able to cast their People’s Choice ballad throughout the exhibit from July 21 – September 16. The People’s Choice Winner will receive $150 along with one framed print of their poster design and a gift basket. Awards will be announced on the 400 Block on Saturday, September 16th.

History of Ginseng in Marathon County: Ginseng cultivation began in the late 1800s at the turn of the 20th century in Marathon County by the Fromm Brothers, but has been used in eastern cultures for its healing properties for over 5,000 years. Today, the capital of the United States ginseng industry is in Marathon County, Wisconsin. There are over 185 ginseng producers in the county and 95% of the ginseng root exported from the United States comes from Central Wisconsin. The rolling hills, virgin soil and cool summers grow unique roots very high in ginsenosides (the active compound in ginseng). These properties make Wisconsin ginseng known as the premier cultivation in the world. As you drive around Marathon County in the warm weather seasons, you’ll see tarp-covered fields protecting ginseng plants from direct sunlight. The berries turn red in August and are harvested in September. The roots are harvested in October and are used in a variety of products including health and beauty products, teas, beverages, candies and much more. The recent resurgence in the interest of ginseng has created great demand in this ever-evolving market of the crop.

The CVA is an arts nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging people in the visual arts and adding to the livability of the Wausau regional community. The Gift Shop has been relocated to the Third Street Lifestyle Center of Washington Square. All proceeds sustain the operations of the CVA, so come show your support in our effort to provide the community with exceptional events year-round.