Green Bay: Three Galleries to See

by David A. Sear

This report follows several unheralded arts advocates in their efforts to support a visual arts community in the fledgling Green Bay scene. On a grassroots level, there are some notable things bubbling along.

As an extension of his position as Curator of Art at UW-Green Bay, Dr. Stephen Perkins has been presenting art from outside the area in his local neighborhood gallery. Relocating to DePere seven years ago, he and his wife, Arda, have the small W.C. Gallery in their home. While filling a niche outside the university environment, Perkins is building a personal relationship between artist and art appreciator in the local arts community. The gallery is located in their home’s downstairs bathroom (W.C.= Water Closet), and has become a focal point for art openings and artist gatherings. While featuring a broad selection of artistic styles, contemporary political art has been a reoccurring theme – something not seen very frequently in galleries or public institutions in this region. Googling “W.C. Gallery” reveals that although the gallery’s name brings a smile at first blush, there is a worldwide arts community in which it participates and is appreciated.

There is a neighborhood tradition in the area where socializing – whether a family gathering, card game, or the familiar Packer game party –happens in the garage. Adapting this tradition to an arts space, Sandi and Gary VanSistine have created the ARTgarage. Situated in the “3 corners” area on Green Bay’s Near East side, they have remodeled an old cannery building. Inside, an art exhibition space winds its way around a central art studio area. The display and studio spaces, reminiscent of an artists’ CO-OP gallery, are rented via contract. The goal of the ARTgarage is to have a viable, self-sustainable arts environment. Within the Green Bay visual arts community, its opening early in 2006 generated quite a buzz of excitement. Programming plays a role with classes and opening events planned for the gallery spaces.

Finally, a downtown architectural firm has renovated a former retail storefront in its building. Motivated to attract professional artists to the downtown area, the owners are providing gallery space for exhibits held in monthly installments. During the initial opening period, it has been the responsibility of the artists to staff and maintain the day-to-day operations of the Northern Waters Gallery.

This cross sectional slice of Green Bay represents a great deal of hard work, initiative, and cheerleading from these arts community movers and shakers. If this region is to move ahead artswise, it will need more of these leaders lending their vision and energy to the community.

W.C. Gallery
908 Talbot Ave., De Pere, WI
By appointment: 920.337.2976
On view through May 5, 2005:
“I Knew God Is A Woman
But I Didn’t Know She Is Black”
Letterpress posters
by Amos Kennedy

The ARTgarage
1400 Cedar St., Green Bay, WI
920.448.6800
www.theartgarage.com


Northern Waters Gallery
308 Pine Street, Green Bay, WI
Open by appointment, 920.217.7805
Contact info: jmoga@aol.com