Exhibition displays historical inventions and artwork of Eau Claire

The exhibit Building Dreams: Art of Architecture and Invention is to inspire local art collectors with Eau Claire’s history.

Macey VanDenMeerendonk

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Galaudet Gallery’s exhibit Building Dreams: Art of Architecture and Invention, going on from now until Oct. 28, is introducing the community to more of it’s own history.

Galaudet Gallery, a fine arts gallery in downtown Eau Claire, is filled with artwork following the theme of architecture and invention.

This month’s exhibit, Building Dreams: Art of Architecture and Invention, which is going on now until Oct. 28, not only focus on the artwork inside but includes the Queen Anne-style victorian house as an art piece of its own.

The show includes a variety of entries from coloration of the patents of A.E. White, an inventor and owner of White Machine Works. The exhibit shows his inventions, as well as illustrations of  Inns of Wisconsin, the nautical theme of architecture, coloration of art by Louis Sullivan, jewelry from regional and local artists and more.

The gallery will also offer guided tours of the mansion that will include information about the Whites’ influence in the city and their home that is now the gallery, according to the Leader-Telegram.

The inspiration for the exhibit came from the focus on White and his patents for numerous inventions that were created in the same house that is holding the exhibit.

White lived in the mansion with his wife, Georgiana, from 1905 until his death in 1920 and created various unusual and distinct inventions during that time. He also started White Machine Works, an Eau Claire company that employed around 1,000 workers in the early 1900s, according to the Leader-Telegram.

The short exhibit has already been well received by the Eau Claire community. Vicki Milewski said the gallery has already exceeded her projections for visitors who have come to see the art on display.

“We had a tremendous response, especially with the interest in the building,” Milewski said.

Milewski and her brother Mike own the gallery together and decided three years ago to make the exhibit about White.

“I was fascinated because not only did they start their business here but they also created the patents here,” Milewski said.

A large part of the exhibit is dedicated to the patents, created by an unknown artist during the time White invented, which with inspiration from Andy Warhol, took the patents and put them in different colors.

“We thought that it would be a really nice way to show patents by putting them into different colors and possibly put them in matching frames,” Milewski said. “It might help people see them as a piece of art.”

One of the purposes of the exhibit is to show and introduce Eau Claire history and Wisconsin architecture to art collectors Milewski said.

“I wanted it to inspire inventors of today,” Milewski said.

She said the Building Dreams exhibit aims to inspire future exhibits at the gallery for other inventors who the Milewskis would love to showcase.

“We feel that this community is so supportive of the arts and so wonderful about trying to provide places for artists — all artists like musicians, writers, comedians and visual artists to have a place to show their craft,” Milewski said. “I think that’s kind of where we are moving with our whole thematic way of showing exhibits is that we see that the function of community is kind of changing, it’s becoming something where we are supporting each other in what our goals are.”