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Bridgetowne debuts new art gallery

Kevin Murray (left) and Rob Heyrman peruse the artwork on display on the second floor of Bridgetowne Custom Framing on Jan. 31. Bridgetowne held its first art show in its newly renovated second floor.

Kevin Murray (left) and Rob Heyrman peruse the artwork on display on the second floor of Bridgetowne Custom Framing on Jan. 31. Bridgetowne held its first art show in its newly renovated second floor. Photo By Michael McLoone

Feb. 5, 2014

A pairing to the many restaurants in the Village has arrived in the form of an art gallery and bar in an expanded frame shop.

Peter Haise, owner of Bridgetowne Custom Framing, 7734 Harwood Ave., has expanded his shop to include a second floor and a full bar. He unveiled the extra amenities with an art show titled "Oil and Water Mix" on Friday and Saturday.

The show featured three Milwaukee-area painters and was the first time the bar was open to the public. Haise said about 100 people showed up each night.

Haise is testing the waters with the new art space, which he hopes will serve as more than an artist showcase. While he originally added the second floor to give him more wall surface to hang paintings, he said, the space could lend itself to yoga classes, parties and business meetings.

His plan is to hold shows, each five weeks, with a one-week preparation break in between. Although the gallery is part of a frame shop, he said, he wouldn't be averse to other mediums such as sculpture or installations.

The first few shows will feature Milwaukee-area artists, and Haise added he will be exploring shows with the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network.

"Every day I'm amazed to learn of how many artists are around," he said. "It's pleasantly surprising to find out how many people not only fancy themselves artists but have a decent collection of work and want to show it."

The art shows may even spill out into the street in the summer, he added. He may put a large tent in the parking lot during the summer months, with possible merchandise booths and live music.

"The view up there is amazing, the bike path, the river, what will be the farmers market — and we have a ton of ideas," he added.

To Haise, the shop is in a prime area. The restaurants around his store, he said, will help funnel people into the gallery. Since he plans on doing limited catering, he sees the store as an accent to the local restaurants. Even in his promotions he suggests that attendees should stop by one of the local restaurants.

The paintings will be on display until March 7. There is no set date for another art showing but the store's website, bcframes.com, will be updated with new shows.

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