Artwork by Sara Willadsen
Lately my head is simply reeling. Summer is on its way — I can feel it in the air — and with that comes a veritable onslaught of projects and opportunities which, if they were dormant over the winter are springing back into full force as the days get longer and warmer. Some things are just new-new and get swept along with everything else. It’s interesting to see how some things change in shape and scope over the course of a year. And it’s also nearly unebelievable at times just how much I have put on my plate in the form of collaborations, social groups, and research while essentially funding every last bit of it via a full-time job at a bookstore which bears no real connection to anything else. I’m never sure if this is for the best or not, but I value the flexibility (however incidental) that it provides. I hope that when I reach the threshold of Doing Too Much, I’ll know. But right now I’m just having a killer old time.
Recently I juried a small group of artwork from a group of foundations students at UW-Marinette in northern Wisconsin. I also took a trip down to Milwaukee to check out the Milwaukee School of Art and Design’s BFA show, in which there were a handful of fine arts students I’m keeping tabs on. Additionally I found myself in the small lakeshore town of Algoma a couple of times in the last couple of weeks, in particular one day for a studio visit with print artist Don Krumpos who is currently prepping a live-work art space on Steele Street in between two other arts spaces. It’s exciting to see what’s going on around the state, both in schools and outside of them, in the exciting and unique ways that artists are making a go of being artists — it seems that taking to the small towns where vacant spaces are aplenty, and the opportunities for artistic development are available, is becoming a popular way to go.
In that vein, the major project I’ve been working on for the last couple of months is a physical art space in the village of Hortonville just outside of Appleton. As a home for artist-led projects and curated shows, it’s also the spot where I will host the next Young Space group show (details to come shortly).
We debuted the new space this past Friday and it was a ton of fun. It’s far from being finished, so it was a one-night kind of deal, but we were able for the first time to really see and feel what we had been working toward for the last several weeks. It felt like a gallery, like a performance space, like an active, important thing, and that felt super significant as we move forward with the finishing touches. The first official major exhibition will open on Friday, June 24, and until then the space is still in transition. Just for fun I’ve included a few before-and-after photos of the space. You can check it all out at thematchfactory.org.