The mission of the ARTgarage is to encourage an appreciation for and participation in the visual, performing and literary arts.
The ARTgarage was founded by local artists who, upon finishing a studio arts class at UWGB didn’t want to lose the experience of making art in a studio. They approached the landlords of the Cannery complex for space to work and display their art. Soon, that led to the creation of a board of directors and the vision to apply for a 501c3 status as a not-for-profit organization. Sandi Van Sistine was instrumental in getting the organization established and acted as both the founder of the ARTgarage as well as the first non-paid site director. By March 17, 2006, the ARTgarage was open. In the beginning, the ARTgarage was sustained by a small board of directors and a lot of sweat equity. In 2007, our first staff member was hired. By our fifth anniversary in 2011, the ARTgarage had expanded to two rooms in 6,000 square feet, with a board of 21 people, two part-time staff members, two staff serving under SeniorCorps grants, over 150 volunteers, and more than a dozen artists and teachers who work with our organization on a regular basis. The ARTgarage purchased the cannery complex in January of 2015.
The ARTgarage is located in The Cannery on Olde Main, a 100-year-old former cannery factory with Cream City brick walls, high wooden ceilings, a cracked and stained cement floor… the perfect setting for this exciting arts venue. Studio A, formerly the cannery’s loading dock, contains the Front Gallery, side galleries, artist studios and gift shop. Studio B is a multipurpose space which is home to classes, workshops, performances, meetings and special events.
As part of the Olde Main Redevelopment District, the ARTgarage is helping to bring value back to the area along with many other businesses and private property owners who want to reclaim rather than demolish our city’s history. The ARTgarage is a welcoming neighbor to the diverse populations within our community and proudly displays “Everyone Welcome” on our front door. Other tenants of the Cannery complex include Flowerama and the NWTC Artisan & Business Center.