There's a credo shared by every smart artist/musician/writer/craftitioner--new word alert!--who has ever owned a gallery, produced another band, written a review, or otherwise aided other artsy folks, and that doctrine goes a little something like this: There's a time to advance the art of others and there's a time to advance your own, and these two efforts cannot always exist simultaneously.
While it may sound short and sweet, the decision to shift focus entirely to one part of the above equation is not an easy one by any stretch. So much effort and care invested, so much fervor and devotion spent that it seems a cruel thing to just walk away, even if it is for the best and most honorable reasons.
This is exactly the kind of tough yet necessary decision that Kaitlin Rathkamp and Joseph Ledger had to make last month when they closed the doors of their gallery Caggio: An Art Experiment on Brady Street.
Now, before you get all blubbery on their behalf, understand that they know this was the most sensible choice they could have made. Gallery ownership is one of the hardest roads of business anyone can tread no matter who you may be or where you may come from. And if you actually care about the artists and their artwork, the emotional level of attachment is akin to that of a loving relationship. When that's the case, a huge amount of your energy is poured into making it work, which means there isn't much left in the tank for anything else.
Caggio was just over two years old when it closed on August 7--a remarkable run for any brick-and-mortar gallery--and could have continued on, according to Kaitlin and Joseph, as interest from artists and collectors was still growing. But the call of their own art could not be silenced or ignored.
For Joseph, his art is music--a creative form of expression that, at its best, continually evolves, requiring a brainload of attention. As a member of Married to the Sea, Joseph carries on the tradition of drawing from the historic annals of American bluegrass and folk, with all its twangy goodness intact.
Even a rehearsal is well worth a listen, so check it out:
Don't tell me your feet weren't tappin', people, 'cause that's a doggone lie! For identification purposes, that's Joseph on drums, Eric "Doc" Holliday on guitars/vocals and Tim Koehler on bass.
And Kaitlin's passion? Well it's none other than the ancient mind/body art of yoga. Bikram Yoga--a.k.a. Hot Yoga--to be exact, is the super challenging form she practices and now teaches at the Bikram Yoga Studio, 2084 North Commerce Street, on Milwaukee's Eastside.
Being a practitioner of yoga myself--though the more moderate form of Hatha-Vinyasa suits my needs quite well--I know just how much it can become a full-fledged part of one's life.
Kaitlin is so committed to Bikram Yoga that she dreams of opening her own studio sometime in the future, and to that we say, "Whoozzah!"
And so you see that the closing of Caggio, though a loss for the community, was done for the love of art--a thing that is so noble, it negates any sorrow we may feel.
(Thanks, Kaitlin and Joseph!)