Eds Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I will warn you right up front that I am touting a project that I am involved in and stand to benefit from in the long run.
Regular readers of the Wausaublog may remember that I mentioned an artist, Catherine Reinke. I was wandering the Artworks Gallery downtown one day, and the window display was just full of wonderfully whimsical creations, and Catherine happened to be standing out front talking to a friend.
I had actually crossed paths with Catherine many times. Her daughter and my daughter were in the same ballet class for while and she taught the summer arts program that my son attended. So when I saw her in front of the gallery, I asked whose wonderful work it was on display, and she told me it was, in fact hers. We talked for quite a while, I snapped a few quick pictures, and I mulled over the experience.
As all good art should, Catherine’s work touched something in me. Maybe it is the whimsy and the sense of humor that is evident. Or maybe it was Catherine’s explanation that she revels in taking literal junk — things people have thrown away — and reworking those things into desirable objects. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that gluing pictures onto a suitcase could make for a profound philosophical statement that reverberates on so many levels, but it did for me.
I left the gallery quiet impressed, and went home and tried to put together an idea for a blog post. I kicked some ideas around in my head, and within an hour, was back at the gallery. When I walked in, I blurted out, “Catherine, you look like the kind of person that believes in kismet.” She assured me that she does. So I told her that what she needed for her work was a webstite to reach a world-wide audience — and that I was just the person to do it. She agreed with both premises, and her newest and riskiest recycling project began.
But there was more than just the kismet of making a website. It turned out that when I suggested the idea, Catherine and a few friends were in the process of opening their own store and gallery. That store and gallery has now become a reality.
At 2803 Rib Mountain Drive, almost but not quite next door to J&P Liquidators, you will find the funkiest, most riotous, whimsical and fun places in Wausau. And I don’t just say this because I take a few pictures there and post them on the web. Everytime I walk in the place, I find myself laughing out loud.
I laugh because of the sensory overload. I laugh because I am so hopelessly unfunky that I completely don’t fit in. I laugh because there is always some new detail or item that just strikes as — well — funny. Catherine, Shelia and the other Groovy Girlz (as they have taken to calling themselves) have taken retro or vintage or whatever you want to call it and blasted it to Venus — and beyond.
So, if you get a chance, and need a bit of relief from the drab late fall weather that has settled in, stop by and say “Hello” to the Groovy Girlz and get totally funked up.