10. "Wisconsin Supper Club" at Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee
This was a fun show for me to go and see, partly because I helped to organize it! Uniting almost thirty Milwaukee artists from different backgrounds was a great way to feel connected to the community.
9. "There's a Place: Photographs by J. Shimon and J. Lindemann" at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend
This was a bitter sweet show for everyone involved. Sweet because it was such a fantastic index of the broad output of Julie and Johnie's work over the last 35 years or so. Bitter because it was the last show that Julie would get to see before she passed away several months later.
8." Current Tendencies IV" at the Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee
I didn't like this show just because my boyfriend was in it, I swear. The staff at the Haggerty clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating a gesamstkunstwerk in which the conceptual premise of the show was perfectly reflected in the clever curation and placement of the works in the space.
7. The Wisconsin Calendar
Forgive me if this one is a little egocentric. The highlight of the Wisconsin Calendar for me was not so much how great it looked when it was done (ha ha), but the experience of making a risky monetary investment into a product I created, and the gratification I felt when I actually made a profit!
6. The Wasteshed, Chicago
On a whim I traveled to Chicago to check out a store called the Wasteshed that sells "used" art supplies. I found a small store with a big mission to sell art supplies at a highly discounted rate, a model that I now think every city in every state in the country should strive to emulate.
5. Art Start, Rhinelander
I was thrilled when I discovered a small gallery and educational center in Rhinelander, an impoverished town in the northwoods just a half an hour away from my family's cabin that I have been visiting my whole life.
4. Dr. Evermor's Forevertron, Sumter
It's kind of hard to believe I had never been to the Forevertron before this summer, considering it is one of the most famous Wisconsin art environments and is very close to other popular Wisconsin attractions such as the House on the Rock and Devil's Lake.
3. The Synchrotron Radiation Center, Stoughton
An art exhibition in a decomissioned research facility at UW Madison (on a spooky foggy night) (with food trucks). What could be cooler?
2. "Why Not Be In On It?" at Usable Space, Milwaukee
It's really hard to understand the panache of the work of Lucia Stern without seeing it in person. But once I saw her work over the summer at Usable Space, I was certain my friends Elisabeth and Neil had unearthed the greatest unknown Milwaukee artist of the last century.
1. Howard Finster's Paradise Garden, Summerville, Georgia
We traveled thirteen brutal hours through the garish landscape of billboards and fast food restaurants that comprises most of the southern half of the United States of America, but every grueling hour was worth it once we landed upon Howard Finster's Paradise Garden in Georgia. Finster's has been one of my "bucket list" items for a long time, so the experience was destined to be sacred for me no matter how cool the infamous art environment turned out to be in person. But I have to say it exceeded my expectations, from the friendly staff that managed the gardens, to the lovely night we spent in a cottage on the grounds with the entire property to ourselves. I will always look back on 2015 as the year I made it to paradise (without getting eaten by hill people).
Super ready for 2016, y'all.