By Damien Jaques Senior Contributing Editor Published Mar 03, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Who is the youngest artist to ever receive a solo exhibition in the Historic Third Ward? It could very well be Claire Hanel, a 10-year-old fifth grader at Hartford Avenue University School.

A show devoted to Claire's work is hanging in the Verduras Tea House and Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant that occupies about 1,800 square feet at the front of the Artasia Gallery & Museum on Broadway. An opening reception will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the restaurant.

Verduras owner Jennifer Nowicki rotates art exhibitions about eight times a year. Facebook connected her with the young artist.

Claire's mom posted some of her daughter's artwork on Facebook last summer, and it was seen by Nowicki's mom, who thought it was exceptional. The idea for an exhibition was born.

The Claire Hanel show will be on display on Verduras' walls until April 15.

Damien Jaques Senior Contributing Editor

Damien has been around so long, he was at Summerfest the night George Carlin was arrested for speaking the seven dirty words you can't say on TV. He was also at the Uptown Theatre the night Bruce Springsteen's first Milwaukee concert was interrupted for three hours by a bomb scare. Damien was reviewing the concert for the Milwaukee Journal. He wrote for the Journal and Journal Sentinel for 37 years, the last 29 as theater critic.

During those years, Damien served two terms on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, a term on the board of the association's foundation, and he studied the Latinization of American culture in a University of Southern California fellowship program. Damien also hosted his own arts radio program, "Milwaukee Presents with Damien Jaques," on WHAD for eight years.

Travel, books and, not surprisingly, theater top the list of Damien's interests. A news junkie, he is particularly plugged into politics and international affairs, but he also closely follows the Brewers, Packers and Marquette baskeball. Damien lives downtown, within easy walking distance of most of the theaters he attends.