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August 2014


Have a seat at Spring Gallery Night

Bold and beautiful chairs highlight the artistic partnership between downtown Oconomowoc business owners and Lake Country artists.

"The chairs are a good expression of the continuing partnership that exists in the community and it shows how artistic Oconomowoc is," said Laurel Whelan. Whelan is a member of the Downtown Oconomowoc Merchants Association, (DOMA) that is auctioning off Adirondack Chairs that have been embellished by local artists. The chairs have been sponsored by businesses and individuals and the money from their sale will go toward DOMA's event and entertainment budget.

The recently established nonprofit group, "exists to solely promote the successful entrepenurial spirit that has long been established in the rich history of Lake Country and the community it serves," according to its Web site. The group has taken over many downtown events that were organized by the chamber before – one being Spring Gallery Night.

Gallery night will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 1 in downtown Oconomowoc Merchants will entertain in an open house fashion. Hosting artists and the chairs will be displayed for the auction.

Tom Spalding who works at Sherper's and dabbles in art painted the store's chair this year. The chair is decorated with a night scene including a full moon reflecting on the water and trees below it.

"I wanted to do something different. You usually think of people soaking up the sun at the lake with these chairs so this scene is the complete opposite," Spalding said of his design, "but my wife said I should do something to make it fun," so he added a little "hoot" to it. See if you can find it on his chair when you stop by Sherper's.

The decorated chairs were part of last year's event and Spalding said he painted one then too by chance. "There were a few extra chairs that needed painting, so I said, 'I'll do one,' " recalled the hobbyist. His design was a hit so he was asked by Sherper's to do this chair. "I thank Sherper's for sponsoring the chair and am excited about the idea, anything to promote downtown is good," Spalding added.

Spalding said the fun thing about the chairs is that no two are alike. "Some were fun, some were serious," he said of last year's batch remembering it was fun to stroll around and look at them all and discuss them with others.

Whelan said the chairs' artists are selected through personal referral and range from professional artists to the hobbyist like Spalding. She said this ties in to the community partnership that DOMA aims to create downtown.

Shawn Eckert who owns Eckert's Hometown Diner on Main Street returns to paint a chair this year that will be at Whelan's Coffee & Ice Cream.

Eckert said he got wind of the project from his friend Beverly Bartel who owns Beverly's Designs. "I was trying to get myself out there as an artist and wanted to showcase the style I paint," said Eckert. His said his chair is an abstract style and the process has been fun.

Bill Winkels who owns Accentuate! has a wine-themed chair that is sponsored by Korbel. He said the company will have a rep at the store during Gallery Night to offer samples of their product. "It's a nice kick-off to summer," Winkels said of the event teamed with the chairs.

Spring Gallery Night

Downtown Oconomowoc is ready to entertain and accommodate during DOMA's Spring Gallery Night. Merchants will have store specials and new inventory. They will host an artist and offer complimentary food and beverages. Downtown streets will be accompanied by strolling musicians and free carriage rides will be offered. Watch for a full preview of Spring Gallery Night in the Tuesday, April 28th Lake Country Reporter and Oconomowoc Focus, or go to LivingLake

How to bid

The Adirondack Chairs are valued at $200, opening bid is $125 with an incremental increase of $10. You may bid from now until the auction closes at 8:30 p.m. on Gallery Night, Friday, May 1. For more information on the chairs or Gallery Night, call the DOMA office at (262) 567-7114 or visit,

Chair locations

Location, Artist:

• Whelan's Coffee & Ice Cream, Abbey Engstrand and Shawn Eckert

• Splash Martini Bar, Michael Steinke

• Ambiance Salon, Abbey Engstrand

• Curious Antiques, Heidi Harwood

• The Pub, Lynn Mount

• Homestead Lighting & Décor, Kiara Caldwell and Mary Lou Bell

• Oakbrook Esser Studio, Suzi Thelen

• Plumb Gold Ltd., Cindy Son

• May Garden Center, Shorehaven Adult Day Care

• Beverly Designs, Kathy Boritzke

• Griffin Gallery, Linda Krukar

• Isabella's Fashions, Mary Lou Bell

• Sherper's Inc., Tom Spaulding

• Judy's Greetings of Love, Tom Buchs

• The Doggy Bag, Paul Schultz

• The Oconomowoc Gallery, Barbara Molter

• Accentuate!, Paul Schultz

• Todd's Grill, Kristin Donnelly

• On The Deck, Tracy Sobol

• Grand Avenue Mall, Jackie Olson

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