So Fresh, So Clean

Stout students create a gallery out of a display case

Caitlin Heidbrink, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A Clean Poorly Lighted Space could easily be descriptors for a myriad of places: a well-swept garage, a dark stage, or an empty bedroom. In this case, it’s a seven-and-a-half foot wide, seven foot tall, and two foot deep art gallery located in the Applied Arts Building at the University of Wisconsin- Stout.

Started by Jennifer Ekstrand and Patrick Gantert in the fall of 2007, these Stout students got the idea as they were perusing an unused display case in the arts building.

  “We realized it was not being used and we wanted to give it a purpose,” said Ekstrand, co-founder, curator, and gallery director. 

This purpose was initially fulfilled by showcasing the work of studio art majors at Stout like Adam Umbach and Darren Tessar, said Ekstrand. They exhibited a painting installation and a performance, respectively, to participate in ACPL Space’s vision of progressive ideas and contemporary voices.

ACPL Space’s exhibitions are quite unpredictable and diverse. Just when you think they’ll zig, they zag, by putting a living person inside the display case, sitting nonchalantly in a chair. This performance, titled Mustache Dialectic, is merely one example of the vast possibilities of such a tiny space.

This past October, the gallery expanded their art beyond campus work with Minneapolis artist Tim Abel’s mixed media installation, Portable Terrane. A recent grad of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Abel’s exhibit communicated a dynamic composition of thunderous layers of black, blue and white.