by Cindy Germain
Although the Door County art scene thrives, the ARTgarage in Green Bay has been making strides to bridge the gap to the larger region’s art community with opportunities for artists to show the art while also offering adult and child art programs and artist work space. The gallery on Cedar Street was founded in 2006 by a group of UW-Green Bay fine/studio art graduates to create a place to continue their practice but quickly developed into a unique nonprofit whose mission is to encourage an appreciation for and participation in the visual, performing and literary arts.
Courtney Maye, ARTgarage program and outreach coordinator, said that it has become an ever-present arts organization in Green Bay, filling a gap in their creative community and offering local artists like Monica Ramirez of Mona Lucy’s Art in Sturgeon Bay, a place to showcase their art and grow as a professional. Ramirez currently has two pieces showing in the summer quarter exhibition and one piece in the N.E.W. Queerness exhibit, which opened July 10.
Through the years, the ARTgarage has provided wall space to rent for artists to show their work with quarterly exhibitions, keeping with its original co-op feeling. More recently, they have added additional space for artists to work and exhibit, and this year they changed their approach in the gallery. The gallery is keeping the quarterly exhibitions, but art is now submitted and juried each time. This is an effort to help elevate regional artists and implement gallery standards, so artists can build confidence in their work and seek out other galleries. Maye adds that the selection process is exciting because it gives any opportunity to have the creative individuals on the jury give an unbiased opinion on the artist’s work as they often don’t know the artists outside of their bios, creating a fair playing ground.
“The overall goal of the process is with the artist in mind, presenting their art in professional way and building their careers. We have both emerging and established late career artists and this process offers a sense of community while still being professional in helping the artist,” said Maye.
The summer quarter exhibition, which runs until mid-August, had more than 50 artists submitting 2D and 3D pieces with 30 currently in the show. The front of the gallery is set aside for thematic or special curated exhibits and just opened the N.E.W. Queerness exhibit displaying works from 15 visual artists from the LGBTQ community throughout northeast Wisconsin.
Ramirez, a self-identified gay woman, said she was honored to be chosen for this special exhibition and applauds the organization’s board and selection jury for providing a platform for the gay community. Maye also expressed her delight in this unique showcase happening until July 28, which “uplifts the voices of others and empowers themselves through art.”
The ARTgarage is currently taking submissions for the fall exhibition with a deadline of July 31. More information can be found at theartgarage.org and on their Facebook page.