There are 250 active painters, both professional and amateur, in the Door County, Wisconsin area, and there are 90 galleries within 90 miles. As the Door County barns fall victim to obsolescence, it’s the creative community that’s preserving these emblems of Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage by transforming them into wonderful galleries, art studios and performance spaces with acoustics worthy of symphony halls.
In the April 2012 issue of The Artist’s Magazine, Judith Fairly shares the story of Woodwalk Gallery, which was transformed by artist Margaret Lockwood and her husband, Allin Walker. In this bonus article, view some of the barns that have been restored into galleries for art, music and community gatherings. Images courtesy Judith Fairly unless noted otherwise.
The Woodwalk Gallery, a renovated dairy barn, contains a handmade paper studio, an art gallery and a performance hall and community center. Margaret Lockwood’s straw bale studio is up another flight of stairs on the hayloft level. The Friday Night Concert Series at the Woodwalk Gallery features national and local singer-songwriters performing an eclectic variety of music including progressive folk, jazz, roots rock, bayou blues, gothic gumbo and Celtic cowboy. During the warmer months, the barn features gallery shows, theatrical performances, music, receptions and more.
Founded in 1962 by the Peninsula Arts Association, the Hardy Gallery is a not-for-profit community gallery committed to address the needs of the local artist community, the creative enrichment of local youth, educating the public and promoting the visual arts and artists of the Door County Peninsula. Located in the old warehouse on Ephraim’s historic dock that dates back to the 1850s, the Hardy is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The exterior of the Hardy is covered with graffiti left behind by visitors.
Modeled on a wooden church built in 1150 AD in Borgund, Norway, designed and constructed using Viking shipbuilding techniques that reflect the island’s Scandinavian heritage, the “Stavkirke” was built in the 1990s by community volunteers. The hand-carved dragon heads on the roof reflect the architectural style common in Norway during the Medieval era when paganism was giving way to Christianity. The interior of the church is almost entirely illuminated by natural light from 13 windows. Owned by the Lutheran Church, the Stavkirke is a multi-denominational place of prayer and meditation, a cherished venue for weddings, baptisms, and the like and a popular destination for visitors.
The Edgewood Orchard Galleries is located in a restored stone apple barn built in 1918 and features the works of over 100 artists working in a variety of media. Owned by three generations of the Emerson family since it opened in 1969, the gallery has leaded glass windows and carved doors, a bricked courtyard, and an arbor surrounded by a tranquil sculpture garden.
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