Jeramey Jannene
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Bay View Gallery Night

Compared to Third Ward's Gallery Night, this one has cheaper art and more of a street scene. Our photos capture the event.

By - Jun 9th, 2014 04:00 pm

Patterned after the Historic Third Ward Gallery Night, Bay View Gallery Night (or BVGN as all the marketing info calls it) brings a unique take on art to the South Side neighborhood it calls home. I made my first gallery night pilgrimage to Kinnickinnic Avenue on Friday night, not sure what to expect or where I would find it. A veteran of observing art I largely can’t afford and consuming the free, but illegal hooch offered up in the Third Ward, I expected to find much the same in Bay View. What I ended up finding was not a knock-off of the downtown mainstay, but a unique and thriving scene.

While the Third Ward event largely takes place in galleries and other spaces where art is created on a daily basis (MIAD, Splash, etc, etc), the Bay View event is hosted in hair salons, bars, law firms, record stores and real estate brokerage offices. I didn’t see more than a handful of pieces of art priced over $1,000 in Bay View, which gave the event more of an affordable feel. Nor did I feel that I was surrounded by art experts at all times, which always gives me the sense I am out of my league at some Third Ward galleries.

The Bay View event also stands out because so much of it is squished onto Kinnickinnic Ave. The narrow sidewalks are packed to the brims with diners, drinkers, and gallery-goers from E. Bay St. south to E. Potter Ave. The Third Ward Gallery Night sprawls out to the East Side and parts of Walker’s Point, making a couple miles of city streets more lively than usual, but lacking a singular stretch to see and be seen on.

I’ll keep coming back to the Historic Third Ward’s gallery night events, but I’ll also be spending a couple Fridays a year in Bay View, too.

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