For years, the corner of Baldwin and Willy streets was a dreary spot - an empty lot, overgrown with weeds, scrawled with graffiti. But that was then. Now it's the site of a brand-new apartment building and storefronts, and the graffiti has been replaced with art.
Hatch Art House is Tammy Schreiter's baby. While the gallery was officially born last December, it was years in gestation. She'd always dreamed of having her own gallery, a place that would showcase local art and give emerging artists a way to get a foot in the door. She carried that dream through years of waitressing and making art in Door County (where she organized gallery shows for the Peninsula School of Art) and, finally, to Portland, Ore., with its thriving arts scene. It was time. She packed up, drove to Madison, and Hatch Art House hatched.
The space itself is a serene, sunny 800 square feet, just steps from the noisy Willy Street traffic. (There's free parking behind the building on Baldwin Street, which will be especially welcome once the dreaded street construction starts next month. And a coffeehouse is strongly rumored to be moving in next door.) About 35 artists are represented, and it's a happily eclectic mix. One commonality is that they're all local, and much of the art is upcycled/ recycled/repurposed.
In addition to Schreiter's own paintings - glowing florals done in acrylics and watercolors, set in rustic wood frames - the offerings range from Nathan Gieseke's vibrant blown glass vases and bowls ($60-$200) to fanciful table lamps using recycled Mrs. Butterworth bottles ($78). Knitters will appreciate Jenny Blasen's stoneware knitting bowls ($35), just large enough to hold a ball of yarn, with a notch in the side for the yarn to run through - a definite improvement over the old plastic bag on the floor.
Jewelry and nature lovers alike will be drawn to Erin Bowe's beach stone necklaces and earrings. If you prefer small, fuzzy things, charming felted hedgehogs ($3) should fit the bill. My favorite items were Jill Weinberg Pfeiffer's mysterious ceramic cubes and boxes carved with enigmatic faces, with an earthy, rust-like finish ($100-$175).
Schreiter showcases a different artist each month, with a reception the second Friday; check her website for updates. And if you'd like to sample other local galleries as well as Hatch Art House, don't miss the First Annual Marquette-Atwood Neighborhood Art Walk, May 1, 1-5 p.m., and Gallery Night, May 6, 5-9 p.m.