Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Cafe promotes local artists

April 5, 2016

By Mary Davisson

Beyond the walls of the Crossman Gallery and Roberta’s Art Gallery there are other opportunities for local artists to display their work in a gallery setting, thanks to the goals of the Wisconsin Arts Association (WAA).  Perhaps unexpectedly, one of those locations can be found at The SweetSpot Cafe, 226 W. Whitewater St.

In the back dining area of The SweetSpot Cafe there are a selection of arm chairs, tables and a couch. Surrounding this area are a series of photographs depicting close-ups of flowers and other colorful scenes of nature during a variety of seasonal changes.

“I started out with one side of the wall just following the seasons with spring, into summer, into fall and winter and all the photos are taken in Wisconsin,” said Ruth Ann Mueller, an artist from Palmyra, WI whose photographs currently hang in The SweetSpot Gallery.

The Whitewater Arts Alliance’s mission is to “promote the visual and performing arts through an alliance of artists, individuals, educational resources, and organizations to promote creativity and diversity that will serve to educate and enrich the lives of the residents of the Whitewater community and surrounding areas,” according to the website.

Hosting the art has proven to be a mutually beneficial situation for both artist and The SweetSpot Cafe.

“It brings in new customers, the artists like to bring in friends and family to view their artwork when it’s on display,” said Lacey Reichwald, owner of The SweetSpot. “The other way is a little bit more obvious, is that we don’t have to pay for artwork to decorate our walls.”

The SweetSpot Cafe began hosting artwork since 2008 when the Whitewater Arts Alliance, 402 W. Main St., needed a new space to promote local art. Up until then, the WAA used the Double Dip Deli (now Rosa’s Pizza) which was in the process of going out of business. They asked the growing SweetSpot Cafe if they would like to strike a partnership.

“At that time The SweetSpot was much smaller,” Reichwald said. “We were only in the front room of the building that we are in right now.”

The partnership helped with the goal of expanding The SweetSpot into what it is today.

The WAA is responsible for the selection, installation and removal of all the artwork. Every two months the artwork is changed out and a new artist is added to the rotation.

“You’ll notice that if you ever come in between shows that it’s so empty and stark in that back room that it makes me realize how much the art shows warm up the place,” Reichwald said.

The SweetSpot also accepts any purchases of the displayed work on behalf of the artists.

“If something is purchased early on in the show we contact the artist first to see if the purchaser should leave the artwork on the wall until the end of the show, or if the artist has something else that they can replace it with,” Reichwald said.

Since the money is taken on behalf of the artist, The SweetSpot cannot accept any credit card purchases for art, only cash or check.

Mueller says she appreciates the attention her work is getting at The SweetSpot.

“I’m thrilled,” Mueller said.  “It’s wonderful just to be able to put your work up and having other people just enjoy viewing it. It’s wonderful people care enough to come and see it and actually spend time looking at it.”

The call to photography started out as something of an occupational necessity for Mueller.

“After I was retired from the newspaper I started doing freelancing and I realized that it was very important to take pictures along with writing an article because pictures will draw someone’s eye right to it before they even start to read the article,” Mueller said. It was during this process that Mueller realized that she enjoyed taking the photos as much as she enjoyed writing the articles themselves.

Ruth Ann Mueller’s photography can be viewed during the rest of April.

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Founded 1901
Cafe promotes local artists