We sat down with the Development Coordinator of Lemon Street gallery & ArtSpace, Shelby Nesmith to find out what’s going on at “Kenosha’s best” art gallery.
Q. How did you get involved at Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace?
Shelby: I was at the first-ever Kenosha Art Market after graduating from UW-Parkside. Beth Dary saw my artwork and asked if I would be interested in teaching a bookbinding or printmaking class at Lemon Street. I said yes and taught at Lemon Street for about a year until Covid. The break from teaching showed me how passionate I am about the art community, so I asked if I could do more. I started as an administrative assistant and soon became a Development Coordinator.
Q. Your official title at Lemon Street is Development Coordinator, Can you tell us what that position implies?
Shelby: I help with fundraising/event planning, donor/membership retention, and marketing.
Q. What are your short and long-term plans for Lemon Street?
Shelby: My short-term plan for Lemon Street is to help the gallery re-establish its footing since covid has shaken the foundation of not just the arts but the non-profit sector as well. My long-term goal is to bring Lemon Street from a level of maintaining and surviving to a level of thriving. I aim to show people how valuable art is to the community and what role Lemon Street plays in that.
Q. Any aspirations to one day take over the Executive Director position?
Shelby: At this moment, no. I feel that I am still learning about the non-profit world and how I fit into it. But maybe someday?
Q. What are some of the new improvements you have already made for Lemon Street?
Shelby: I have helped the gallery with visibility by getting us involved in community events, updating our online/social media presence, and streamlining gallery operations.
Q. With Lemon Street being a non-profit organization, How can people help to keep Lemon Street funded?
Shelby: People can help out in so many different ways! You can attend our events, purchase art from our artists, sponsor programs/events, volunteer, or make donations.
Q. Can you walk us through a typical day at Lemon Street?
Shelby: I usually start the day off by making a pot of coffee as I turn on all of the gallery lights and take note of the art that is currently up, making sure everything is just how we left it. In between art sales, I get to answering emails, talking with artists, laying out graphics, and planning for upcoming events. For me, arranging the new art for our quarterly changeover in the main gallery is my favorite day.
Q. What do you love about working for Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace?
Shelby: When I was teaching, I got to see people fall in love with the same medium that I fell in love with. I got to see people’s faces light up when they stood back and saw their masterpiece. I got to see people truly challenging themselves and thinking outside of the box. I saw how valuable art education is, and I would have never been able to see that without Lemon Street reaching out to me, a freshly graduated art student.
After a year of working as a Development Coordinator, I saw the passion, love, and support for the arts and our art community that Lemon Street provides. This gallery has become my second home, and I hope that you can see the value in this place as much as I have.
Q. What can you tell us about the art classes that are starting back up? And how can people sign up?
Shelby: We are slowly releasing classes, so right now, we have our core classes: painting, ceramics, and stained glass. We have some fun workshops lined up for the future, and we are excited to release those. To see what classes are currently available and to sign up for a class, you can always check our website, LemonStreetGallery.Org.
Q. Who is your favorite local artist? And what is your favorite kind of art medium?
Shelby: My favorite local artist is such a difficult question! It would be a tie between Carley Duchac-Lyons with her surreal, stoned accented ceramics and Jill Zgorzelski with her illustrative, grunge painting style.
I love mixed media, but if I had to choose one medium, it’s printmaking. The labor of carving away an image creates a connection with the artwork. I also love the range of textures that you can achieve and you can print on almost anything. Push the limits
Q. Thank you for your time and I personally look forward to what you will bring to Lemon Street in future, anything you’d like to say that i may have left out?
Shelby: Thank you so much to everyone who has supported the arts during the pandemic. From donating to sharing a post, it is all so important
Keep an eye out for an upcoming podcast about the art community called The ArtSpace Podcast, starring Jake “The Weather Guy” Hoey and me!
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(This article first appeared in the Downtown Kenosha Magazine Winter Vol. 15 #1 2022)
Q&A and pics by Donny Stancato
Edited by Jason Hedman