Carly Rubach
Gallery Night

Celebrating 25 years

Nancy O'Keefe of the Historic Third Ward Association reflects on the event's history and growth. Plus, TCD's guide to all things Gallery Night and Day.

By - Jul 24th, 2012 04:00 am
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This weekend, Gallery Night and Day celebrates 25 years of inviting the community into art galleries and other unique spaces across the city of Milwaukee. From veteran participants Katie Gingrass and Tory Folliard to the fresh faces of ART Milwaukee and Splash Studio, the event continues to grow, and offers a range of aesthetics for all attendees.

Nancy O’Keefe, executive director of the Historic Third Ward Association, shares the history of the event and its evolution throughout the years.

“In the early days Gallery Night had about 35 participants, including restaurants,” says O’Keefe. “Today we average 60-65 participants and they are mostly galleries, museums, schools, or shops.”

The event was started in 1987 by the East Town Association and the Milwaukee Art Museum. In 1989, the Milwaukee Art Dealers Association (MADA) became involved to help establish the artistic criteria and quality standards for participating galleries and to screen new galleries that wanted to participate.

Photo courtesy Charles Allis

“The first gallery night I remember was when Jean Woods from East Town and I went from participant to participant blowing up our cool purple gallery night balloons,” says O’Keefe.

This took too much time, she says, and they eventually made the switch to the inviting flags we see today.

“That night, I was walking down the street with tears in my eyes because I couldn’t believe how many people were in the Third Ward!” O’Keefe continues, “It was like Summerfest.”

By 2009, East Town gave up their partnership with the Historic Third Ward Association and now Gallery Night is solely managed by the Third Ward crew.

photo courtesy Haggery Museum

In celebration of the 25 year anniversary, Gallery Night is hosting their first ever Plein Air Competition, where you’ll see artists out and about in the Third Ward painting live in an effort to capture the sights and the sounds of the weekend. The finished pieces will be judged on Saturday at the P.H. Dye House (320 E. Buffalo St.) beginning at 5 p.m. O’Keefe hopes to continue this competition each year in July. If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, take a look at few Gallery Night memories here, and post your own memories in our comments section below.

Follow the TCD staff as we venture out on Gallery Night with the hashtag #TCDart. Use this tag to let us know where you are, what you see and how to find the best after-parties. Also, please take the time to reach out to your artist and art-loving friends who lost so much in the recent Riverwest fire. Take a look at a piece we published last week for more information on how you can make a tax-deductible donation and which items are being accepted at community locations. Help out your friends, Milwaukee. 


Historic Third Ward

THE Fine Art Gallery
Marshall Building: 207 E. Buffalo St. (Suite 210)
Midsummer Lights
11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Enjoy ten distinct styles ranging from realism to the surreal, narrative, and abstract in a wide variety of media including painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and fine jewelry.

photo courtesy Splash Studio

Splash Studio
184 N. Broadway
Super Secret Glow in the Dark Project
6 p.m. – 12 a.m.

If you haven’t been to Splash Studio yet, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy live paintings, mini paintings and drink specials from 6-10 p.m. Then prepare for the lights-out, Super Secret Glow in the Dark Project after-party. Paint and drink in the dark!

Gallery 218 in the Marshall Building
207 E. Buffalo St.
22nd Anniversary Party

5 – 10 p.m.

While Gallery Night and Day celebrates 25 years, Gallery 218 celebrates 22 years with contemporary art, monochrome, color-field, conceptual works in painting, printmaking, photography, mixed media. Artists include Judith Hooks, Kathryn Kmet, Josh Hintz, Bernie Newman, Jean-Marc Richel, and Sam Lux. And take advantage of the cash bar by the Milwaukee Ale House, light appetizers and live jazz by Keith Watling.

The Historic Eisner Building
208 N. Water St.
Paintings by Laura Bovinet
5 – 9 p.m.
The Eisner Building hosts its first official Gallery Night and Day art exhibit featuring work from Laura Bovinet. Bovinet says much of her recent work comes from her views on relationships and coming to terms with adulthood.

photo: "Brief Encounters" by Marta Shumylo

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
273 E. Eerie St.
2012 Juried Senior Exhibition, Frederick Layton Gallery
5 – 9 p.m.

The Juried Senior exhibition will display works from all of MIAD’s art and design majors, including international award winning works by industrial designer Jeannette Ralyea and by photographers Julia Kozerski and Marta Shumylo. And don’t forget to check out “Bacterium” – a highly inventive card game with an instructional video – by Illustration major Michael Petrella.

The Portrait Society Gallery

207 E. Buffalo Street, Suite 526
A Fop’s Banquet: An exhibition in Three Acts

6-9 p.m.

Stop by the Portrait Society for their final round of exhibitions in their current space. The three installations in this exhibit explore themes of destruction, re-configuration and growth as a way of looking at the properties and necessity of change.
262 E. Menomonee St.
Pin-Up Show
5 – 9 p.m.
CoPA celebrates Gallery Night’s 25 Year Anniversary with $25 fine art photographs from Milwaukee artists and CoPa members. The proceeds of the event will go towards for the organization’s Artist Incentive Award fund.
233 N. Milwaukee St.
Landscapes & Still Lifes; Nature Redux; New Oil Paintings: Looking Back
11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Enjoy works from Melanie Parke (Landscapes & Still Lifes); Stephen Anderson, Sofia Arnold, and Beth Edwards (Nature Redux); and Patrick Farrell (New Oil Paintings: Looking Back).

Downtown/East Side/Riverwest

photo courtesy ART Milwaukee

ART Milwaukee
Art Park: Catalano Square
Wedding: 424 East Wisconsin Ave. (Imperial Ballroom at The Pfister)
Art Bus; Art Park; Wedding: Gallery Night After Party
6 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Witness the Gallery Night after-party event where pairs of local artists will “Marry” live on shared canvases. Enjoy cocktail hour with live music from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra “Quartet,” free wine tasting, light appetizers and more. ART Buses before the event are sold out, but you can sign up for their waiting list here. Make sure to get your tickets early for the next Gallery Night! As if that’s not enough, ART Milwaukee is also hosting an Art Park event in Catalano Square from 6-10 p.m. featuring live artists at work, live music and face painting!

Charles Allis Art Museum
1801 N. Prospect Ave.
Our Gardens Inside & Out
5 – 9 p.m.

Stop by and check out this group show where artists take different perspectives on flowers and gardens, utilizing a variety of forms including painting, print and sculpture. The show is guest curated by Jane Brite, Founding Director of the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts.

Thea Kovak

1661 N. Water St.
Watercolor paintings
5 – 9 p.m.

Artist and instructor Thea Kovac will exhibit watercolor paintings by artists in the Lost Playground Studio. Stick around for watercolor demonstrations, a Danceworks performance at 7:30 p.m. and a free jitterbug swing dance lesson.

Dean Jensen Gallery
759 N. Water St.
Leslie Smith III: New Paintings and Drawings
6 – 9 p.m.

Yale-trained painter Leslie Smith offers canvases filled with portals, curtains, earbuds and other familiar objects for his first solo exhibition in Wisconsin.

photo courtesy Grohmann Museum

Grohmann Museum
1000 N. Broadway at State St.
Selections from the Great Lakes Marine Collection of the Milwaukee Public Library
5 – 9 p.m.

Library selections include paintings, prints, photos and ephemera from Great Lakes boats of the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibit also features photos and effects from a few Great Lakers, boat models by Jerry Guenther and “Working Boats” slideshows. President of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, Peter Hirthe, will host a gallery talk.

Haggerty Museum of Art
13th and Clybourn
Selections from the Mary and Michael J. Tatalovich Collection
10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The exhibit features a postwar collection of large-scale American prints by seminal Pop and Minimal artists, as well as works by newer artists. Also on display will be NYC July 4, 1981 – photographs by Tom Arndt and Dusk by Mark Ruwedel. Learn more from our TCD piece written on the exhibit last month.

Michelle Grabner

Inova’s Kenilworth Gallery
2155 N. Prospect Ave
Michelle Grabner: The Inova Survey

5 – 8 p.m.

This twenty-year survey exhibition spans work Grabner made from the 1990s while living and working with her family in Milwaukee to new work from this year. Through a variety of mediums, Grabner investigates the concepts of work, labor, and the aesthetics and social dynamics of the domestic sphere. In addition to this exhibition, a full scale replica of The Suburban, Grabner and Brad Killam’s 3 year-old artist project space located in Oak Park, Illinois, will be erected in Inova’s parking garage.

InterContinental Milwaukee (Gallerie M)
139 E. Kilbourn Ave.
5 – 9 p.m.

Check out the latest exhibit celebrating “Americana” curated by MIAD Student Curator, Shannon Wunderlich.

Timothy Westbrook | photo courtesy Pfister Hotel

Pfister Hotel
424 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Artist in Residence: Timothy Westbrook

5 – 9 p.m. Visit

Visit Artist in Residence, Timothy Westbrook who uses his space to create Victorian clothing pieces with sustainable materials like organic cotton and recycled cassette tapes, using a non-electric 1904 treadle sewing machine and loom. Celebrate after hours at the Pfister Imperial Ballroom for the Art Wedding, which will feature Westbrook’s wedding gown made of woven plastics.

Tool Shed
2427 N. Murray Ave.
The P is for Penis
5 – 8 p.m.
Artist Keith P. Rein take over the Tool Shed with his exhibit “The P is for Penis.” Keith will have prints for sale, which were a big hit last time he was at the shed. Check it out!
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
2220 N. Terrace Ave.
To Become Day
5 – 9 p.m.
This exhibit introduces new works by San Antonio-based artist Joey Fauerso and Madison-based artist Michael Velliquette. Fauerso investigates the depiction of the human body as an intersection between nature and culture in her large-scale paintings on historic wallpaper. Velliquette’s paper sculptures are bold forms of colored paper shapes, which evolve from a self-described “rite” of meditation, reflection and drawing.
755 N. Milwaukee St.
I Love This City
5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
During this Gallery Night, Urban Milwaukee showcases everything you love about Milwaukee in the summertime through paintings, photography, and t-shirts. Food trucks will be outside of the store and you’ll have access to cocktails through the “art tunnel” to Sublime.

Walker’s Point

Arts @ Large
908 S. 5th St.
1000 Words
4 – 8 p.m.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” and in this student-created exhibition, visitors will explore the interplay of image and word through the artwork, photography, poetry, and scriptwriting of students from various MPS schools. Light refreshments will be served and there will be live music and live theater performances throughout the evening on Friday. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Cathy Breslaw

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts
839 S. 5th St.
Cathy Breslaw: Above & Below and New Work by Charles Matson Lume
12– 9 p.m.

Two installation artists use repurposed manufactured materials that create movement via light, shadow, reflection, form and color to examine the moments when our physical and ethereal experiences unite. Artist talk begins on Friday at 7 p.m.

Out and About

THE GALLERY at Vanguard Sculpture Services
3374 W Hopkins St.
Out of the Forest, Into the Furnace – Bernard J. Roberts Bronze & Wood Sculpture

5 – 10 p.m.

Sculptor, teacher, naturalist, restorer of prairies, Roberts created sculpture inspired by forms he encountered in his lifelong stewardship of native Wisconsin prairie and forests. He’s planted and harvested trees to build his own home and studio–always sure to utilize the entire tree. This retrospective exhibition spans four decades and includes work in bronze, wood and ceramic.

photo: Josiah Williams

Alice’s Garden
21st & Garfield
Josiah Williams

5 – 8 p.m.

20-year-old theater performance major at Bradley University, Josiah Williams, will exhibit his photography as will other artists of Alice’s Garden. Alice’s Garden is a community garden in central Milwaukee where people from the neighborhood and the metro area gather to grow food, walk the labyrinth, and converse.

TCD’s editors will be updating the guide throughout the week. If there’s anything else we should know about, leave a comment and let us know, or email Managing Editor Dan Shafer at

Follow TCD on Twitter @TCDigest

0 thoughts on “Gallery Night: Celebrating 25 years”

  1. Anonymous says:

    For anybody who might be interested, The Pfister has created an interactive Google Map with all of the participating locations in Gallery Night!

    Link Here:

  2. Anonymous says:

    Was you at the festival! I must say that you are not only friendly staff, but also a very beautiful work!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for my lack of tact! Happy Birthday Gallery Night!

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