Meet Alan Perlstein and Terry Hamann
Lily Pad West- Milwaukee's Third Ward Fine Art Gallery of Distinction
We made the decision to open Lily Pad West in Milwaukee in early 2015. Terry and I are long-time appreciators of art. We started as collectors 40 years ago, with limited funds but a passion for art. Great cities have innovative companies that attract young talent to do challenging work. But to retain that talent and continue to grow, great cities need great culture, great theater, sports, wonderful restaurants and the arts.
Milwaukee has been undergoing a renaissance; with the rebuilding of downtown and innovative young start-up companies migrating to Milwaukee. But when Milwaukee started to lose some of its long-tenured galleries over the past decade, both through retirements and gallery owners choosing to do different things, we realized we needed a new art gallery here in Milwaukee, a great gallery to raise the bar for art. Our Milwaukee Art Museum is now recognized as a world class institution. Our friend and partner, Wivi-Anne Weber, had this great gallery in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, called Lily Pad Gallery that we supported for over 20 years as collectors. We said we'd love to open a sister gallery here in Milwaukee, so that's why we're Lily Pad Gallery West.
How did you get into this field and start Lily Pad Gallery West?
Terry: We really wanted to bring art to Milwaukee and beauty to people. I think beauty lifts up, not only the individual human, but it also lifts up the culture, the space, the town, and the city. Without it, cities tend to crumble in upon themselves. I'm thinking especially of Detroit- not just about bad water- but they sold off their art and lost the inner spirit of the city, who they were as a community during troubled times. For me, art is very community-based. Not only did someone else paint it, but it can go home with you. And it can be something you have from the world at large, to lift your soul and spirit every day. When you buy art for yourself, for your personal living space, that's a friendship and a relationship that will follow you to the end of days.
What would you tell someone who might be intimidated to come into an art gallery?
Alan: We do not want this gallery to be a stuffy place. You walk in, you chill out, sit down, appreciate the beauty, the art. We created this space to look like a living room on purpose. So you're living with the art, with the beauty that surrounds us. If you didn't buy a painting but you came in every week, that's fine! We just want everyone to be comfortable.
Terry: We also want kids to be in here. They're the ones that will support this style of art, or the possibility of art in the next generation. I don't expect most people to walk in and purchase art each day. But I want them to love it and feel at home in it and in the end, the art will be supported.
Lily Pad is Milwaukee's fine art gallery. It brings artists from around the world and gives their art a home here in Wisconsin. You will see art from Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood hung side-by-side with fine masters from Europe, New York, or Canada. You will experience phenomenal representational pieces that draw you into a salt water marsh, a beach by the ocean, or the hillside farms of New England, alongside a contemporary work of color and energy from Canada or Los Angeles. We hope you walk into Lily Pad, smile, get that quiet quiver up your spine that says you are surrounded by beauty; that you are surrounded by quality. When that feeling happens, we know art has found a home here in Wisconsin.