I am so excited to finally announce the location of my new studio, which will be on the 2nd floor of the Peter Myers building at 121 N. Main Street #1, in Janesville. This has been in the works for a long time, and I’m so happy to finally find the right place, and that it is working out!
The history of our new building is really interesting. It was built in 1851 by Peter Myers, and is one of the oldest remaining commercial buildings in the city. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I could only find one, old-ish picture online:
Peter Myers was an interesting fellow. I found an in-depth account of the man in the book, Rock County, Wisconsin: A New History (volume 2) by William Fiske Brown. To paraphrase, Peter Myers was born in France on February 8, 1819 and his parents immigrated to Pennsylvania when he was a young boy. His father served under Napoleon and lost a limb in the battle of Moscow. Being a younger brother, he didn’t inherit anything after his father died, so he moved to Buffalo, NY and learned the butcher’s trade, and lived there ten years. He met a man from Milwaukee, after which he first moved to Rockford before he settled in Janesville in 1845. By 1851, he was constructing the current building on N. Main, which he used for his meat market business. However, he quickly switched to pork packing and became quite wealthy. He invested heavily into early Janesville — erecting many other buildings including the Myers Hotel and the Myers Opera House. His home was the first brick residence. He also invested in many early Janesville businesses and was an original shareholder in the first railroad that came to the city.
What I found most interesting was this passage, by the author above, about his personality: “Mr Myers was a man of simple habits, caring little for personal adornments, and yet in the appointments of his home and the furnishings of his hotel and decorations of his opera house he was most luxurious and artistic. He was well known coast to coast on account of his strong personality as “Peter the Peculiar”, however underneath a blunt exterior beat a warm and generous heart, and by his wise prudence, thrift of character, and kindliness he gained and held the confidence and respect of all who knew him, and his death which occurred on March 13, 1888, was mourned by all as that of one of the city’s most enterprising men and benefactors…His religion was to love justice, to assist the weak, to forget wrongs, and to remember benefits. Tis a fitting inscription which encircles a large portrait of him in the Myers Opera House: “Janesville’s Benefactor, Peter Myers, born February 8, 1819, died March 13, 1888. He made and left the best efforts of his life for you.”
Indeed, he has left his best efforts for us. I would like to think that Mr. Myers would be very happy to see that his building was still in use — and fully occupied with three storefronts, three apartments — and soon to be my studio space.
Here is the building today:
The stores that currently occupy the building make me very optimistic about the future of Janesville. If you are in the area, stop by and check them out. It is so important to shop locally and support these small businesses, and all the others in the city.
Once Junky, Now Funky is a wonderful shop, filled with great displays of “re-styled and re-purposed” home decor — simply a must-see.
Modern Charm has a wide variety of high-quality, vintage goods from the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. You are sure to find a treasure or two. Great prices!
Tried and True Tattoo offers unique body art by several talented artists.
And I will soon have my own studio space open to visitors on the 2nd floor — but it will be more than an art studio. You probably know of my love for vintage, for the ephemeral, for books, for bits of nature…basically what you are going to find when you come visit me is my own little corner of the world that I’ve built for myself — idealistic, non-conforming, and authentic to who I am as an artist and person. Things such as these can’t be described, so I invite you to keep updated with me, through this blog and my Facebook page, and get to know me, and come visit the new space someday!
“BEFORE” pics to come soon!!!