Wayward creatives unite

De Pere art gallery makes name for itself

Posted on Nov 28, 2018 :: Small Business Spotlight
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

With a name like artlessBastard, a business cannot disappoint. And with juried art shows already opening to packed houses and laudable sales results, co-owner Casey Jelinski knows taking a chance on an art gallery in west De Pere has already paid off.

Someone called us “the dive bar of galleries,” says Jelinski, proudly owning that title. “We’re trying to make art affordable.”

Jelinski and her husband, Timothy, rent the 2,000-square-foot venue. Their partner is Shanna Koltz, a friend and professional photographer with a studio down the street. The Jelinskis’ daughter Aisling, a St. Norbert College alum, also is involved in the venture the quartet calls “a home for wayward creatives.”

International artists of all stripes are welcome to submit to the juried shows. Each show, which runs four to five weeks, exhibits 60 to 80 works. Once approved, the artists choose their sale price, with the gallery keeping 15 percent of the sales price.

“We’re really proud of those numbers,” Jelinski says. “We’re breaking a lot of the rules. Most galleries retain 30 to 40 percent.”

And it seems to be working; the gallery outgrew an under-street-level pop-up space across the street.

“We have been killing it on sales,” averaging 1.7 pieces per week, Jelinski says. “I think the reason we keep continuing to get more work is that artists are seeing that it sells here.”

Jelinski says the De Pere community has been so welcoming that the owners launched another venture — Aunt
Ethel’s Adult Emporium, just a few storefronts west. Jelinski says the venue has Skee-Ball, Pac-Man and other arcade games, along with beer and wine for those ages 21 and up.

Jelinski says she and the other owners hope Aunt Ethel’s and artlessBastard will make the community say, “I’m going to De Pere tonight. I don’t know what for, but there’s going to be something to do.”