By Becky Roozen Published Apr 14, 2005 at 5:37 AM

{image1} For years, Gallery Night and Day artists have wowed Milwaukee's art-enthused masses with drawings, jewelry and photographs. They've painted for the public; they've sculpted. But never have they cut the cheese.

And it's's brainstorm, "Cuttin' the Cheese for Charity," that'll change that. Ten local artists will sculpt 40- and 75-pound blocks of medium cheddar cheese live. As the shaved-off scraps fall, the Riverwest Accordion Club will squeeze out sounds of inspiration. And all this cheesy business benefits America's Second Harvest.

OMC's yummy addition to Gallery Night is free and will take place above Moda3 in the Third Ward at 320 E. Buffalo St., Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. There'll be complimentary wine, beer and -- of course -- cheese available for sipping and snacking while the sculptors shear away at their blocks of dairy goodness. They are confident this'll be a queso-cutting good time.

"When Molly (Snyder Edler) asked me to cut the cheese for charity, I was like, 'Hell yeah!' So I get to cut the cheese, and it's for charity, that's a win-win situation, if I ever heard of one," says Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design student, Bridget Quinn. "Plus it's a chance for people to see my work, even if it is cheesier than usual."

Quinn -- whose favorite way to eat the orangey-yellow stuff is on a grilled cheese sandwich with grape jelly on top -- says she has never sculpted any food before, only soap, but, "I know exactly what I will be carving, and it was easy to come up with the idea, being a genius and all," she jokes.

Riverwest painter and sculptor of Latin American-style art, Jessica Laub, on the other hand, has cut the cheese -- um, with a knife, we mean -- before.

"I sculpted 'the baby cheese-us' for a Christmas party," Laub says. "It was fun and a big hit."

Laub can't quite decide which cheese she likes best. She's a fan of cheese fondue, straight up Swiss, Merk's cheese with crackers, warm Brie cheese baked in a crust, feta on a salad and so many more. And she's still deciding what she'll carve her block into. "I have several ideas and am still narrowing it down," says Laub. "It has taken some thought, fun thought."

Other artists include Demetra Copoulos, a sculptor of museum-quality, large-scale pieces. If you've ever saddled up on La Perla's mechanical red pepper, you've sat on one of Copoulos' creations. She also created the sculpture inside Ouzo Cafe.

Other fromage formers include sculptor Heather Hartz, Adambomb Tattoo owner (and MIAD grad) Adam Werther, painter and henna artist Renee Bebeau, Arvid Petersen of, Whitefish Bay High School art students Daniel Nennig and Kristen Ramirez, Ray McDaniel and Elaine Palmer Laber.

Two, much smaller -- and hairier -- guest artists will carve a chunk of cheese, too, using their tools of choice, teeth. No worries, OMC's pet mice Yin and Yang will chomp creatively in a closed-up aquarium.

"We're psyched to add cheese to the Gallery Night mix," says Molly Snyder Edler, event organizer and OMC writer. "And after seven years of success, OMC is thrilled to 'give back' in a creative way."

Admission to OMC's "Cuttin' the Cheese for Charity" is free. All donations go to America's Second Harvest food pantry. On Saturday, the sculpted cheese will be on display at downtown's new Pick 'N Save Metro Market, 1123 N. Van Buren St. For more information on OMC's event, go to

Check out these, too, on Gallery Night...

  • Self-taught artist and narrative painter Peter Carlson opened his "50/50" show -- he has 50 paintings for $50 -- at Hotcakes on April 2. The show runs through May 1, and Hotcakes will be open for Gallery Night with Carlson on-hand to informally answer questions about his work. Hotcakes is located at 3379 N. Pierce St.

  • Also, check out "Blind Spot: A Visual Forum of Contemporary Young Milwaukee" at Moct, 240 E. Pittsburgh Ave., on Gallery Night. This is a juried show for local artists between the ages of 18-30 who work with photography, oils, and sculpture.

A complete Gallery Night schedule is here: