Culture Club: An Interview with Ginnie Cappaert

by Sarah Zamecnik, Executive Director, Francis Hardy Center for the Arts (Hardy Gallery)

As part of our annual raffle fundraiser, the Hardy Gallery’s board of directors chose abstract artist Ginnie Cappaert to make an original artwork that embodies the Anderson Warehouse, home to the Hardy Gallery. “Summer Breezes” is a perfect example of Cappaert’s original style, which involves building layer after layer of paint, marbleized with translucent pigments, to depict the color palette of a typical Door County summer day. Recently I talked with Ginnie to ask her a few questions about her work and how she found her way to Door County. 

Can you tell us about yourself, your process and why you make art?

I am an artist, a dreamer and one gutsy woman! I have been an artist my entire adult life and thrive on creating and studio time. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is like breathing to me – a life necessity! The gutsy woman in me made a big move and huge investment in myself when I left my life in Michigan and opened a gallery in Door County. This was a lifelong dream of mine, and I decided to run with it. Here I am! 

My painting medium is oil and cold wax and is a highly layered process. Most of my paintings have about 40 layers of paint that I am adding, then removing; scratching, then dissolving as I create texture, variation and depth in each piece. My paintings are inspired by my travels and nature, in an abstracted, minimalist way. Most definitely my surroundings here in Door County – water, sky, fields, trees – are my main inspiration, but my travels to foreign lands and the Southwest always breathe new life into my work. 

What are your influences, and who inspires you – any specific movements?

I will always be inspired by women artists who came before me – Helen Frankenthaler, Emily Mason, Lee Krasner and Georgia O’Keeffe – mostly for their use of color and for the determination and strength in a tough art world! Probably my most influential artist and friend was Lawrence Carroll, who sadly passed away this past year. He graciously encouraged and supported not only myself but artists around the world. His friendship and art and business advice will always be cherished. 

Whom is your work for? Who is your audience, and what influenced your choice of audience: art fairs, gallery exhibits, museum shows?

My painting is for me, and if collectors or patrons buy it, that’s even better yet! Real art comes from inside of you; it is authentic. And I truly know no other way of working. I am fortunate to show my work locally at my own gallery, Cappaert Contemporary Gallery in Egg Harbor, and [at] Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Fish Creek, but I also am represented by six galleries across the country, including Globe Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have always painted what I felt like painting and have luckily found galleries and collectors who support my vision and career. 

How did you come to live and work in Door County?

Like many people, I had vacationed and loved Door County for decades and just decided to go for it and open my own gallery after finding the perfect location in Egg Harbor – the former Dovetail Gallery – five years ago. A split-second decision and not much of a business plan evolved in one week’s time, and I said, “Yes, I’m opening a gallery in Door County.” I never looked back, and although I still own a home with a large studio in Michigan, I am transitioning into becoming a full-time Door County resident and couldn’t be happier! I love the people and friends of Door County. I love the supportive arts community, the nature, theater, music and the positive energy that encircles the art world here. I am where I belong. 

“Summer Breezes” by Ginnie Cappaert.

Can you talk about the piece you made for the Hardy’s annual raffle fundraiser?

I am honored to be the chosen raffle artist for 2019 and wanted to create a piece that was based on the water [and] sky surrounding the Hardy, but I wanted it to be happy and colorful, which are both feelings I sense from the art energy in our community. The Hardy is a special place with some amazing exhibitions, and we are lucky to have it here in Door County. 

“Summer Breezes” – the 2019 raffle artwork fundraiser piece for the Hardy Gallery – is valued at $2,800. It is on display at the gallery through Oct. 13; the drawing will be held Oct. 14, 1 pm. Purchase raffle tickets – one for $5 or five for $20 – at the gallery. This is a chance to win an original work of art by one of Door County’s most popular artists. All proceeds will go toward sustaining the Hardy Gallery’s programming. To learn more about the raffle fundraiser, visit or call 920.854.2210. 

The Peninsula Arts and Humanities Alliance, which contributes Culture Club throughout the summer season, is a coalition of nonprofit organizations whose purpose is to enhance, promote and advocate the arts, humanities and natural sciences in Door County.

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