When Faythe Levine announced that her nationally-recognized Paper Boat Gallery & Boutique was folding in early 2009, it didn't seem to fare well for Milwaukee as a whole.
Nationally, the economy was tanking and it was taking our once-prosperous local success stories along with it. It was tough to accept the reality that on of Milwaukee's greatest independent artists boutiques and galleries wasn't going to make it.
But we pressed on, and Levine didn't stop either. She set out on the road for a year promoting her now internationally-known book and documentary, "Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design," keeping the Milwaukee craftster scene in the spotlight.
She's now returned home with good news: She's opening another gallery. Her new space is located within Sky High skateboard shop, 2501 S. Howell Ave., owned by Aaron Polansky.
Polansky and Levine share a common vision of Milwaukee and their Bay View neighborhood by helping the community grow by providing programing surrounding skate culture, emerging arts and all things creative. Levine will curate the gallery and boutique while Polansky will continue to focus on bringing quality, well designed skate influenced products to Milwaukee.
The expansion will also include the Sky High "Temporary Mural Project," a 8'x8' wall space facing Howell Street featuring the work of a local artist. Murals painted in the artists studio will be installed for the public to enjoy for two months at a time.
The gallery's grand opening party coincides with a show from the first Temporary Mural Project artist, Alyssa Schulte. The block party, held Saturday, June 5, includes a skate jam and a BBQ and runs from 2 to 6 p.m.
Sky High Skateboard shop is open Monday through Friday 12-7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m. It's closed Tuesdays. Summer gallery hours: Friday 12-7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”