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Monday, July 20, 2009

Gallery Night and Day: Milwaukee's Summerfest of Art

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This year, 59 venues throughout the Milwaukee area unite in a synchronized effort to promote art in what has become a cherished tradition of 22 years. Gallery Night and Day is a quarterly event that encourages participants to hop from one location to the next, admiring an immense collection of diverse artwork along the way. The simple delights of superb art highlight this summer's Gallery Night and Day, July 24-25.

The Peltz Gallery, owned by Cissie Peltz, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and its locale in a quaint Victorian house on East Knapp Street continues to make for an inviting environment. The gallery was one of the city's first to present a Picasso print exhibition and an art show that featured only African-American artists. This year, the Peltz Gallery opens "The Nineteenth Annual Remarkable Women Show," which overflows with more than 40 women artists at various stages in their careers. This includes nationally renowned Judy Chicago, Lesley Dill, Kara Walker and Jeanette Pasin Sloan, along with Milwaukee favorites Anne Kingsbury, Barbara Manger, Evelyn Patricia Terry and Della Wells. Visit on Saturday to congratulate Cissie Peltz, a most remarkable woman, and to meet two special guests from New York.

Elaine Erickson Gallery begins the weekend early with an opening on Thursday evening, July 23. A sculptural exhibition features three-dimensional installations, including work by internationally recognized metalsmith Yevgeniya Kaganovich, sculptor Rory Burke, ceramic sculptor Linda Wervey Vitamvas and father-daughter artists John and Kate Balsley. These exceptional individuals will attend receptions on Thursday and Friday evenings.

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) premieres its first alumni exhibition, "Generate," curated by MIAD graduate and former gallery owner Cassandra Smith at an off-campus location, 2375 S. Howell Ave. As the first of a new series of MIAD-hosted alumni exhibitions, "Generate" offers a unique opportunity to view the extensive talents of former students who continue to influence Milwaukee art, like Harvey Opgenorth, Emily Belknap, Mary DiBiasio, Colin Dickson and Karin Haas. MIAD's Brooks Stevens Gallery of Industrial Design examines the history, design and inherent values of a society through the exhibition "The Great American Kitchen."

At Portrait Society Gallery, "Mrs. Gaska's Craft Room" casts a charming spell with artwork fashioned from recycled tops of juice cans that evoke the creative spirit within each individual. On first glance, these finely crafted items might appear kitschy, but upon closer inspection, Carolyn Gaska's enchanting attention to detail and design showcase another remarkable woman.

To close the weekend on Saturday, July 25, visit "Art Not Apathy: A Gathering to Promote Unity," sponsored by the Organization for Inspiration. Taking place at Bucketworks, the event encourages living the artistic life, aptly demonstrated by James McGarvey, Jacob Hey, storyteller Mama Numosa, folk musician Michael Hoppe, rap artist Danny Zuko and a performance troupe called Dead Man's Carnival. Visual art will be displayed in the lobby as part of these quarterly "Art Not Apathy" evenings.

Other remarkable art to enjoy this weekend:

Decades of outstanding environmental art can be found at Inova/KenilworthGallery's retrospective honoring "Roy Staab: Four Seasons/Four Corners."

Grava Gallery presents handcrafted, wearable gems in "Semi-Precious Art."

Introduced by her book-in-process, Permission to Paint, Please, Evelyn Patricia Terry curates an exhibit of African-American artists at Jazz Gallery.

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