A Rhode Island art gallery will open a permanent location on Oct. 20, in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward at 215 N. Broadway, across the street from the new Kimpton Journeyman Hotel.
The art gallery, to be called Lily Pad Gallery West, will feature works from American, Swedish, Dutch, French and Canadian painters in a mix of styles ranging from traditional naturalism, realism and impressionism to abstract, modern works.
It will be located in 2,250 square feet of retail space between MOD GEN at 211 N. Broadway and Swig at 217 N. Broadway, in the Third Ward.
Lily Pad, owned by a Swedish-born woman named Wivi-Anne Weber, is located in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, an affluent resort community at the confluence of the Pawcatuck River and the Atlantic Ocean that draws visitors from New England and elsewhere around the country.
Weber holds a PhD in art history from Columbia University and has run the gallery in Rhode Island for 32 years.
“I started it because there was no culture in this little town back then and someone had to step up to the plate and do something about it,” Weber said.
Weber said she was convinced to open a second gallery in Milwaukee by Alan Perlstein, executive director of the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC),and his wife Terry Hamann, who own a home in Watch Hill.
“I’m impressed by the city itself,” Weber said of Milwaukee. “I think that there’s a lot of movement going on. You seem to have buildings going on everywhere which is a very good thing. You seem to have a beautiful (art) museum. And I like the idea that Milwaukee’s on the water. That ambiance is important to me. I think you have a very good business climate which I think is important for the arts.”
Perlstein and Hamann, have known Weber for 28 years. The couple will be Weber’s business partners in the new Milwaukee gallery. Perlstein said Milwaukee’s new construction projects and burgeoning arts and entertainment scene inspired him to bring Weber’s gallery to the Third Ward.
“When a city has both innovation and the arts, it’s generally on the right path,” Perlstein said. “And if you look at downtown Milwaukee, there’s beautiful architecture being built, the lakefront is phenomenal and all the culture in the Third Ward, Riverwest, Fifth Ward (Walker’s Point). (Weber) was blown away by the amount of things that were going on.”
The gallery will have a soft opening on Oct. 20 and will be open to the public Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 for Milwaukee’s Gallery Night & Day. Perlstein said more than 120 paintings and sculptures from more than 40 artists from around the world will be on display.