New Year’s is one of my favorite times of year. I always feel a sense that anything and everything is possible. I want to get rid of old projects and start new ones!
Quick recap of what has been going on with us lately ~~ I feel like I am heading down the right path and I’m very excited! Those of you who know me, remember that we moved from Algoma shortly after Fiona was born, and I transitioned from running a gallery space to focusing on my personal artwork and seeking a studio space. Ideally, we were looking for a place out in the country south of Madison. But we decided that the smartest thing to do was invest in Janesville. From a financial standpoint, we bought four houses for what we could buy one for in the Madison area. Brandon and I decided to start a property management business that focused on fixing up houses that were foreclosed on or run down, yet were in good neighborhoods. Our mission is now to be good landlords and provide quality housing. You may remember that Brandon was in a serious car accident a few years ago, and he was unable to go back to his previous job (concrete construction), so this was a perfect solution for him. So that has what we have been working on all last year, besides my artwork of course (and the kids, and the other zillion things we have going on). And while there have been times that I lamented about not being in Madison, I’ve actually found Janesville to be better than I expected. In my quest to find out more about the culture and art happenings here, I started a new blog, Art In Janesville — so check that out if you are in the area.
Not that I’m a stranger to Janesville. I grew up 30 minutes from here. Brandon grew up in Milton, which is practically Janesville. It is really nice to be closer to family and friends. Our new house is right across the street from a big park and even has woods to hike in. There is a great coffee shop a couple blocks away. My kids are going to a wonderful school. I see a lot of ambitious, talented people making things better. I’m encouraged by places like the Janesville Performing Arts Center, Raven’s Wish, Basics Cooperative, events at UW-Rock and the library, and the new restaurants and shops popping up. And it’s still a relatively short drive to Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago.
So that is the background info for why I’m setting up a studio in Janesville. It is going to be a mostly private space, open by appointment but the focus is not going to be on selling, it is going to be on making. And how am I able to not worry about selling? That is the genius part. Because of the property management business, we are purchasing a commercial building downtown that has three storefronts and four apartments upstairs. But there is an empty, unfinished space above one of the shops, which will be absolutely perfect for an art studio – big and cheap!
It is strange how things work out. It wasn’t how we planned, but it is turning out to be better. It comes down to the fact that Brandon and I are willing to change, be flexible, take risks, but yet never settle for less than what we want. And we work really hard.
We just confirmed that we are closing on the building on the 15th of this month! Then, I’m going to have some major renovations to do. But you know how much I love getting my hands dirty!