Opening Reception: Saturday, January 20, 2024 2 to 6pm

Behling Boys of Summer, Acrylic on board, 2023, 24 x 30 inches, Courtesy of Randy Groth.

From Journal to Cedarburg: Robb Helf

From the bustling ink-stained newsroom to the vibrant world of fine art, the exhibition From Journal to Cedarburg traces the remarkable journey of local artist, Robb Helf. For almost 30 years as a newspaper graphic designer and illustrator, Helf’s skillful designs, pen, and brush strokes graced the pages of periodicals in The Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel, bringing stories to life with his images. He later transcended the confines of headlines and deadlines to become a revered Wisconsin artist. This exhibition celebrates the fusion of storytelling and artistic expression, showcasing the remarkable career shift of an artist who embraced a new realm of creative freedom.

Robb Helf

About the Artist

Robb’s versatility, his technical expertise and management of creative design projects from concept to completion on deadline, has been burnished over a 35-year career as an art director, graphics coordinator, page designer and illustrator at The Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel and The Milwaukee Business Journal.

His sideline fine art and illustrations in watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink and charcoal have received awards from the Society of Newspaper Design, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Prior to his career at the newspapers, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in commercial art in 1975 from Carroll College in Waukesha, WI.

Robb grew up in Bay View, Wisconsin and was largely inspired by Norman Rockwell when learning to draw. Details became his thing. In later years he studied his work intently and to this day is still inspired by all aspects of Rockwell’s genius and storytelling.

“Before I create a piece, my mission and passion now are one in the same. Pull the viewer of my painting into a storied moment in time– a captive moment that no eye behind a camera viewfinder would ever see.”

As Cedarburg residents of 27 years, Robb and his wife Pam have raised their family and participated in years of community service. Within the last 5 years, Robb was honored four times by being selected as a featured artist of the Greater Cedarburg Foundation’s Gala fundraiser event. His most recent painting was a donation to a Mel’s Charities fundraiser in Cedarburg last fall.

Looking forward, Robb is continually looking for three things that are deeply rooted within his work…tradition, history and story telling. Not sure if there is a more perfect town than Cedarburg where these components come together. Rockwellesque? Certainly.