State Street gallery: A new venue in Madison

by Anthony Dallmann-Jones

We opened on September 24, 2005 -- exactly 10 years from the day my son, a fellow artist, and I stood on State Street and said, “Wouldn’t it just terrific if we could some day open a gallery and studio here on State Street.” It was the eve of his 21st birthday. I had brought him here to show him Madison. So, we opened on the eve of his 31st birthday! We are financial partners as well as artists together. We only show a few of our pieces. We are showing about 16 artists now, and are in our second month and coming close to breaking even at this point. Our second month was bigger than our first month, and we have heard nothing but good comments.
  Work here is all postmodern. All our artists are alive. Most from Wisconsin, but we have an artist from Oregon, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and more are applying all the time. We have six art jewelers, and probably half our sales are from art jewelry...all one of a kind and hand-crafted. We have three photographers work exhibited, four abstract artists, oil painters, acrylics, encaustic, watercolorists, mixed media, and mostly all in the $300-$5000 price range. We are slowly moving up in price levels, and we are doing that deliberately.
  Artists are welcome to submit work to us on CD or actual close up sharp photographs. We do NOT want slides. Mail to STATE STREET GALLERY, 109 State Street, Madison WI 53703. Include SASE if you want them back. Sorry we do not have time to do critiques on rejected applicants.
  I was a potter in school. Not an art major...a biology and psychology dual major. I just loved art. Simple as that. I started self-teaching painting years ago..cannot remember was after I went through a phase of sculpting with a scrap iron and a torch, some watercoloring, etc. But I fell in love with abstract expressionism years ago. It was all about painting with emotions and paint happened to be there kind of thing. That was for me! I still love it. I just paint till it feels right. A lot of my creative energy has gone on vacation as managing the Gallery sucks it out of you. I WILL get back to it, as I plan to remodel the downstairs of the gallery to make room for a studio. I have also been experimenting with “painting with light” using dichroic sheets of glass and small spotlights. I will put one on display in the window one day and blow State Street away!
  We are doing well. They tell me if you come close to breaking even this early you are doing something right. And people really love the gallery. We have original pressed tin ceilings and the old 1857 maple floors, and that helps the ambiance. But it is the variety of art we have that gets the most compliments. We make no bones about it, we want to please our patrons. We want them to have a good time here. We say “Hello” to every person entering, and “Thanks for coming” when they leave. We are honored that they give of their time (and sometimes their money) to spend time with us instead of somewhere else. We mean it, too.
And it is so nice to be in a business that people come in looking for a good time!