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Posted: December 9, 2020 Thinking Differently About Fine Art

Galaudet Gallery | 618 S. Farwell Street, Eau Claire, WI | (715) 513-9994

“When you come in, it's about you. It's not about me, it's not about the art on the walls, it's about you, what you want to see, and what you want to do,” said Mike Milewski, Artist and Co-owner of Galaudet Gallery (pronounced ‘gala-day’). Sibling Co-owners, Mike and Vicki Milewski, named the 21st century gallery in honor of their artist mother, Elizabeth Galaudet Milewski. “Both of us are artists,” explained Vicki, “and we have been our whole life. . .our mom was our first mentor.”

As an Abstract Experientialist, Vicki said, “I take my experiences, and I abstract them, so that others may have their own experience, or have some kind of abstracted experience from my experience.” Mike is a Contemporary Artist working in a genre he labels Interruptive Art: Art that interrupts our daily lives to make a space for us to see things in new and fresh ways. As Artists and Gallerists, the Milewskis manage two gallery locations while also creating and selling their own art. The original Galaudet Gallery is located in Chicago.

Opened in 2014, the second Galaudet Gallery location resides in an impressive building at 618 S. Farwell St. in Eau Claire. “It was love at first sight with this building,” Vicki said. “We walked into the front tower room. And later. . .Mike was like, ‘What did you see on that first wall when we walked in?’ and I said, ‘My singing chakra, my throat chakra,’”referencing The Chakra Collection—a collection of oil paintings created by Vicki. Mike envisioned the same thing.

The Galaudet Gallery building in Eau Claire was built during the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements. The Arts and Crafts movement celebrates artisan-made goods and wood. Art Nouveau reflects ornate, nature-inspired designs. “In itself, [the building] is a piece of art,” shared Mike. “I thought it would be great to put it back to the way it was. And have an art gallery inside a piece of art.”

Pre-COVID, Galaudet Gallery hosted events to provide patrons with unique ways to experience art. Mike said events are a great way to reach “people who feel that they aren’t interested in fine art,” adding, “A lot of art in the past couple of decades has been intimidating to people—the way that it's written about and how people express it.” Galaudet Gallery is very much against conceptual art, and works hard to make art joyful and not intimidating.

In this same inclusive spirit, for the past few years, the Milewskis have been working on a theory called The Partnership of Sight. The art theory “...allows everyone and anyone to look at a piece of art, bring what they have to the art and just enjoy it,” Vicki explained. “It doesn't mean you have to know anything about art. And that's what I love about the idea.”

Amid COVID, the Milewskis are committed to making the online experience just as inclusive and welcoming as the traditional, in-person experience. The Gallery recognizes that people must learn new ways to shop for, view, and talk about art. “We want to have [the online experience] valued equally to being in person,” explained Vicki. “It doesn't mean it's the same, it definitely isn't,” but it’s valued equally.

Fortunately, during COVID, the Milewskis say that the Gallery has experienced an outpouring of support from the community with online sales. “It’s been ongoing and wonderful,” shared Vicki, “and the appointments are wonderful too.”

The Milewskis are grateful for their space in Eau Claire. Mike believes Eau Claire is an undiscovered gem. “It's a large urban area, and there's no one really around. Sure, [the city is] influenced by Minneapolis or Chicago or the outside world in general, but Eau Claire has kind of come up with its own scene, its own culture, its own art culture, and its own music.”

If you would like to support Galaudet Gallery, buy some art! Galaudet Gallery sells fine art, jewelry, and chic decor. You can also experience the Gallery by scheduling a safe, in-person tour or coordinating a virtual tour.

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