We put the squeeze on Shelby: Spotlight on Lemon Street Gallery and Artspace

Lemon Street Gallery and Artspace

“Just come as you are and let’s make some art and look at some art.” – Shelby

When life gives you lemons, make some art. We squeeze in this exclusive interview with the Lemon Street Gallery and Artspace director, Shelby Nesmith, and find out what is fresh at Kenosha’s best art gallery.

Why do you love downtown Kenosha?
Shelby: We (Lemon Street) love downtown Kenosha because we are so close to the lake and we’re surrounded by local businesses that are just full of love and support, really wanting to help out with the community.

Can you describe what Lemon Street Gallery and ArtSpace provides?
Shelby: Showcasing artwork, we have such a wide variety of artwork: 2D art, 3D art, paintings, glass mosaic—anything you can really think of. We really accept all mediums and different forms of expression here. In terms of teaching, we offer stained glass, lino cut, painting, and ceramics.

What makes Lemon Street Gallery and Artspace stand out from all the other galleries?
Shelby: I think we stand out from other galleries in the area because of our presentation and our out-of-the-box thinking. We’re not afraid to try something new. We recently had a tactile show, so it featured artwork you could touch. We’re not afraid to break the rules here, and we just try to be as inviting as possible. Just come as you are and let’s make some art and look at some art.

What is something about Lemon Street that you’d would like new residents to know about?
Shelby: I’d love people to know that it’s free to come in, free to join. Just look around and get involved. Every second Saturday, we have a reception, free to attend. It’s a great time to connect with the local art community, have a snack, and just have a good time.

What are some things that you personally like to do in downtown Kenosha?
Shelby: I love attending all the wonderful art events that we have going on, whether it’s music or a pop-up show—different arts that are showing in the area. So there’s no limit to what people do here. They really explore, have a fun time, and I love finding those things and exploring as well.

Q. As the director of Lemon Street, how do you stay up to date on all the trends and changes in the art world?
Shelby: I think it’s just naturally within myself, the passion for the arts, to keep doing bigger, better and staying on top of the trend. As a fellow artist myself, it’s just kind of ingrained in who I am and the passion that I have for the local arts.

Walk us through a day as Shelby, the director of Lemon Street Gallery and Art Space.
Shelby: So, start of the day, usually, as everyone probably does, throw on a pot of coffee, I walk around, check out the artwork, make sure nothing’s moving, nothing’s shaking. Sometimes we get some semis in here and rattle things up, so just checking in on the artwork, make sure everything’s all good, and then I’ll get settled in for the day. We’ll either have our associate Missy or Dean here and start chit-chatting and get the day going, working on emails, answering phone calls, connecting with people over artwork, talking about the importance of art to people who are coming in, and as well as the asset of the Clay Studios. Spending a lot of time giving tours and letting people know about this hidden gem.

How can an artist get involved with Lemon Street Gallery and Artspace and become a member?
Shelby: So, there’s an application process on our website (CLICK HERE). It has the breakdown of that. It is a juried forum here, so we have a committee that will review your work. The artist drops off about three to five pieces of their artwork so we can see your general repertoire and everything, and we’ll go from there.

Who is your favorite all-time Lemon Street gallery and Artspace board member?
Shelby: My favorite board member is Donny Stancato. 

Thank you for the plug.

Can you tell us about Lemon Street’s The Art Space Podcast that you co-host with Jake the Weather Guy?
Shelby: Yeah, The Art Space Podcast, we got that started about two years ago. We interview local artists and talk about what got them started in art, what motivates them to make, and what continues to keep them going in the artistic scene here, as well as asking the hard-hitting question of what can we do here to help our artists, what can we do to better our art community, and just a level of connecting with others as well. Listen & subscribe here (SpotifyApple PodcastYouTube).

Q. What is next for Lemon Street Gallery and Art Space?
Shelby: So as we’re in our 25th anniversary this year, we’re going to be doing a big fundraiser to renovate our garage into a secondary classroom. So we will be able to expand our class list. There’s been so much demand for it, so we’re here to supply it.

Lemon Street Gallery & Artspace
4601 Sheridan Road Kenosha, WI 53140
Gallery Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11- 5pm, Sun 11- 4pm, or by appointment

For everything Kenosha visitkenosha.com
Q&A and Photos by Donny Stancato • Concept by Donny Stancato & Jenna Zeihen • Edited by Meridith Jumisko, Jenna Zeihen & Donny Stancato