UW-Stout Art Students Open New Gallery Space in Menomonie
Ed Erdmann sees the line between Menomonie residents and students a bit like how freshwater and saltwater meet: separate, but of the same body of water.
Trying to bring those two separate groups together is the mission of Gallery 610, a new Menomonie art gallery that UW-Stout art students Emily Gordon, Jared LeClaire, and former art student Erdmann founded together. Their goal is to make the space a “community hub,” where people can meet, enjoy art, and start meaningful conversations that lead to connections, Erdmann said.
“The gallery space can transcend whatever class difference there may be.” – Ed Erdmann, Gallery 610
The gallery began when a few graphic design friends of LeClaire, a UW-Stout sculpture student, left the space. He invited Gordon, who is a ceramics student at UW-Stout, and Erdmann to pitch in together to make it a studio for their work. But, when they first stepped into the building, they discovered it had all the necessary fixtures to make the perfect gallery.
“It sort of just fell into our laps,” LeClaire said.
The gallery, which opened July 11, features artists that Erdmann, Gordon, and LeClaire generally invite, trying to include a variety of artists so when people come back to the gallery, they see a different artist every time. Their first show with Richard Wehrs, a ceramics artist from Illinois, went well, LeClaire said, and the founders are looking forward to Bennett Pearson, a sculpture artist from Fargo, North Dakota, installing his artwork in August, LeClaire said.
At each opening reception, they invite artists to share their stories, creating the potential for conversation.
“And it’s not even heavy stuff,” Erdmann said. “The gallery space can transcend whatever class differences there may be.”
Gallery 610 is also nonprofit, LeClaire said. The three artists pay rent for the space out of pocket, and artists whose work is sold keep 100% of the sale price – the artists price their work and keep all the money made.
“We’re doing it for the community,” LeClaire said. “That was the No. 1 goal.”
Though they accept donations, LeClaire said the best way to support the gallery is to visit and take a look at all the art. They also have a Facebook page (Gallery 610) and they’re on Instagram (@gallery.610).
As far as getting artists involved, Gallery 610 will host its first juried art show, with Erdmann, Gordon, and LeClaire acting as jurors, from Sept. 12 through Oct. 3. Artists interested in being a part of the show should submit one to five high-resolution images of their work, compressed to a single PDF labelled with size, title, medium, and date, to firstname.lastname@example.org.