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Your summer look is very fetching! Where did you retrieve those deals? l’m spending the dog days of summer shopping at the DCHS Thrift Store!

Dane County Humane Society Thrift Store

6904 Watts Rd. Madison giveshelter.org • (608) 709-1275

CONTENTS july/august 2021

vol. 74

publisher Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@madisonessentials.com


editorial director Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@madisonessentials.com

lead designer

arts Clay, Glaze and Firing: Illinois.......18

Jennifer Denman


senior copy editor & lead staff writer

Chris Brockel..................................28

Kyle Jacobson

It’s Systemic...................................40

copy editor & staff writer Krystle Engh Naab


sales & marketing director

La Kitchenette.................................6

Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@madisonessentials.com

food & beverage


Elena Terry and Native Foods.......14

Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker, Barbara Wilson



Historic First Lutheran Church.......32

Debora Knutson


contributing writers Anna Thomas Bates, Sandy Eichel, Jeanne Engle, Chris Gargan, Anne Sayers, Lori Scarlett, DVM

JustDane Innovation Incubator....36


Separation Anxiety........................30

Eric Tadsen

pets shopping

additional photographs Melody Chavez, Delores Fortuna, Historic First Lutheran Church, JustDane, William Lemke, Marlene Miller, Elizabeth Nishitateno, Frankie Pobar-Lay, Travel Wisconsin, Ueda Photography, Visit Eau Claire, Wild Bearies

subscriptions Madison Essentials is available free at

over 200 locations. To purchase an annual subscription (six issues), send mailing information and $24 to Madison Essentials, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174. Or sign up for a FREE online subscription at madisonessentials.com.

Lily’s Mercantile & Makery............10

travel Uncovering Wisconsin’s Hidden Gems: Eau Claire...........................42

including From the Publisher...........................4 Contest Information......................46 Contest Winners............................46

(continued) madisonessentials.com

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We welcome your questions and comments. Please submit to Madison Essentials, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 or email ajohnson@madisonessentials.com.


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all rights reserved. ©2021

No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by Madison Essentials. Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174 Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 P (608) 356-8757 • F (608) 356-8875


Watch for the next issue September/October 2021. Cover photograph—Croq’ Madame taken at La Kitchenette by Eric Tadsen Photographs on page 3: top—Taken at Lily’s Mercantile & Makery by Eric Tadsen middle— Provided by JustDane bottom—Mishima Metallic Platter by Hironubu Nishitateno taken by William Lemke

from the publisher What a difference a couple of months make! Leading up to Memorial Day, we were in the 40s and 50s with rain and frost warnings, and just afterward, the start of an intense heat outbreak with drought conditions. This spring’s end has not only been dramatic on the weather front, but also on our lives. When I wrote my January/February issue letter, I was looking forward to the end of 2020 with a sense of relief and caution. Even though I acknowledged a new year didn’t mean the end of COVID-19, it felt like there was a glimmer of hope. In my March/April letter, I spoke of looking forward to the day when the pandemic would cease to loom over us. My May/June letter spoke of a beautiful 74-degree day, the progress of vaccinations, and the contrast of that feeling of hope as we surpassed 550,000 deaths. This, our July/August issue, finds us with mask mandates lifted, people beginning to venture out again, and a return to some sense of “normalcy,” whatever that looks like for each individual. Though the risks of COVID-19 may be reduced, with the death toll surpassing 600,000, they are not gone; there’s still a very vulnerable segment of our population whose lives are at risk. Please remain vigilant when it comes to safety and cautious in your actions, and be respectful to those who need our support in following precautions, such as mask wearing, and to those businesses continuing the practice. Inside, you can enjoy our conversation with La Kitchenette owner Virginie Ok as we learn about her love for preparing traditional French comfort food and Asian-influenced recipes. And it’s a fascinating discussion about native foods and indigenous ingredients with Elena Terry, chef and founder of Wild Bearies. It was also a beautiful drive to meet Teresa and Lily McMahan of Paoli and Lily’s Mercantile & Makery so we could share the story behind their business. Our other features include the continuation of our ceramics series, this time in Illinois; a new Sandy Eichel article; Chris Brockel of FEED Kitchens and Healthy Food for All; the story of the Historic First Lutheran Church; separation anxiety in pets; the next story in our JustDane series; and as we are returning to our shopping and dining lifestyles, Travel Wisconsin uncovers another hidden Wisconsin gem: Eau Claire. I hope you’ll not only enjoy our articles, but are encouraged to support the people and places we introduce you to. It’s about community, and thank goodness we can feel safer to explore again.

amy johnson Eric Tadsen

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Photograph by Eric Tadsen at Lily’s Mercantile & Makery

s au k p r a i r i e

c a p i t o l e as t


ngs i d d e W& s t e u q n a B NEW Brunch Menu! S AT & S U N 10am-3pm





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Acidulé Tartine

e ssential dining

La Kitchenette

by Anna Thomas Bates

Cozy La Kitchenette is tucked into a small brick building at 805 Williamson Street. Here you’ll find comforting French dishes, like beef bourguignon, onion soup with gooey cheese, buckwheat crepes, and lavender crème brûlée. Brightly colored

chairs dot the small dining room, and a wall-sized chalkboard displays the menu and specials. Warm lights hang from heavy rope, and weathered wood encases the front counter. The restaurant is so small, guests are treated to enticing

aromas from the kitchen the second they walk in. Owner Virginie Ok moved to Madison from France in early 2016 with the intention of opening her own restaurant. She began helping in the kitchen at Chez Nanou while she searched for the perfect location. Anne-Marie Rieunier, owner of Chez Nanou, decided to retire, and Virginie was ready to take over the space. After an interior makeover adding brightness and color to better reflect Virginie’s style, La Kitchenette opened in September, a mere six months after she arrived in Wisconsin. Virginie was born and raised in France by her Cambodian parents. As a child, when all of her cousins would play outside, she chose to be in the kitchen listening to her mom, aunts, and grandmother talking and gossiping while she watched them cook. “My mom learned how to cook French, but she was

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always putting her spin on it and adding Asian flavors. She taught me how to play with different flavors and techniques.” Cooking and food were important in her family, and gatherings always centered around family-prepared meals. But Virginie didn’t start out with culinary ambitions. She studied business and landed in the cosmetics industry developing products and managing projects. The logistical and organizational skills she learned in this field would be helpful in running a successful restaurant. When her husband got a job offer in Madison, the two decided to go for it. “Why not?” says Virginie. “We were young, it was a good opportunity for him, and I was looking for a change.” She wanted to open a restaurant, and she gave herself a timeline to achieve that goal. If she wasn’t able to do it, Virginie would find an office job. One of her two brothers followed a similar path, leaving his job at Microsoft to move to Denmark and work at the world-famous Noma restaurant.

Beef Bourguignon

While Virginie had a lot of home-cooking experience learned from the women in her life, including both French and Asian techniques and flavors, working at Chez Nanou helped develop her professional kitchen skills. She learned quickly that timing was critical, how to get things to the table hot, and how to shop for ingredients in bulk. When people walk into La Kitchenette, Virginie wants them to feel welcome and at home, as if they are sitting down to a meal at a friend’s house. Beef bourguignon is her favorite dish to prepare at the restaurant. “It’s super warm and comforting, and smells so good. People walk in, gasp, and ask us what we’re cooking. It makes for a very cozy atmosphere.” This traditional French recipe combines beef braised in red wine and beef stock with vegetables and aromatics. La Kitchenette serves theirs with mashed potatoes. Chicken Doria is another popular dish, a rice gratin layered with bacon, green onions, béchamel, and cheese. Though this dish was created in France, it’s now very popular in Japan. madisonessentials.com

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French Onion Soup Gratinée

If you’re looking for French-inspired homestyle cooking (and a few Asian dishes), intimate La Kitchenette is for you. The comfortable menu is rounded out with both sweet and savory crepes, French bistro sandwiches (croq’ monsieur and madame), and onion soup made in the traditional French style— caramelized onions, house-made stock and croutons, and melty Swiss cheese. This is one of those dishes that has a modest ingredient list, but takes a lot of time to prepare and isn’t that simple to do yourself. On a cool rainy day, this is what you want, and La Kitchenette is where you want to get it. People come to La Kitchenette looking for traditional French comfort food— the richer the better. Customers love the recipes laden with melted cheese, butter, and cream, but Virginie loves to add in fresh Asian influences when 8 | madison essentials

she can. Her soy-marinated deviled eggs come with ginger, pickled red onion, and are topped with crispy rice. Virginie also brings in Asian-inspired recipes for weekend specials. When she’s cooking at home and missing her French friends and family, Virginie makes her mother’s Cambodian-style pho, a beef noodle soup called ka thiew. When she visits her family in France, she always has a list of dishes she wants her mother to prepare. When Virginie has time to dine out in Madison, two of her favorite restaurants are Fairchild (2611 Monroe Street) and A Pig in a Fur Coat (940 Williamson Street). Like everyone in the restaurant business, the pandemic hit La Kitchenette hard.

They stayed in business by offering takeout, which regulars and the neighborhood appreciated. Virginie also added an option of buying whole cakes and tarts. A current favorite of her customers is the pistachio strawberry tart. La Kitchenette opened for dine-in service in May and is hoping to add more hours, but the restaurant will continue to offer takeout and whole desserts to boost their income until restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity and there are enough workers downtown to fill the dining room at lunch.

French best friend who loves to cook, and you’re always invited. Anna Thomas Bates moved to Wisconsin 21 years ago, and after shopping at the Dane County Farmers’ Market and wandering through the Driftless Area, she hasn’t looked back. Co-owner of Landmark Creamery in Paoli, if she isn’t tasting/ selling cheese, you’ll find her writing about food, reading a good book, swimming, or hiking with her two boys. Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

If you’re looking for French-inspired homestyle cooking (and a few Asian dishes), intimate La Kitchenette is for you. It’s warm and appealing, and always delicious. It’s like you have a Atwood Avenue | 2322 Atwood Ave.

Croq' Madame

Camelot Square | 1726 Fordem Ave. Anna Thomas Bates

La Kitchenette

Fitchburg | 2685 Research Park Dr. Middleton | 2831 Parmenter St. Sequoya Commons | 555 S. Midvale Blvd. State Street | 468 State St.

805 Williamson Street Madison, WI 53703 (608) 283-4266 lakitchenettemadison.com Chèvre Tartine


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e ssential shopping

Boho Farmhouse Lily’s Mercantile & Makery

by Krystle Engh Naab The idea for Lily’s Mercantile & Makery started when Teresa McMahan wanted a place to display Lily’s, her daughter’s, art. The two also thought it would be exciting to go into business together, and decided to make the leap when a commercial space became available in Paoli. “I’ve always wanted to open a boutique but never wanted to do it by myself,” says Teresa. “So when Lily 10 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

graduated from high school, she went to MATC, and we started talking about it. Lily enrolled in the small-business entrepreneurship course at MATC, and during that year she started to write a business plan. “Then this space came up for lease in Paoli, and we live very close. It would’ve been my first choice to have a business

in this town. I knew it was a sign and meant to be.” They signed the lease in January 2019 and opened in June. “Lily also graduated in May. It all happened fast and fell into place—perfect timing.” Lily mainly creates acrylic paintings of horses and farm animals, but also does hand-lettered signs and original pieces, as well as staging merchandise. Teresa

Not the typical farmhouse style you would expect, their boho aesthetic has the vintage farmhouse

mixed with southwestern. handles the finances and jokes that when she does the purchasing, she’ll give it to Lily and say, “Here, make it look good.” Not the typical farmhouse style you would expect, their boho aesthetic has the vintage farmhouse mixed with southwestern. For those wanting different home décor options than what you find at big-box stores, Lily’s offers a mix of the old with the new. “Adding a vintage piece of furniture into a new home can really add a lot of character,” says Teresa. Their current location used to be many things—an art gallery, a creamery—and their vision transformed it into a warm, inviting place. Teresa says, “It was just tile walls, and we wondered what we were going to do with the space. My wonderful husband, Lily’s father, built all these barnwood walls, the shiplap walls, the arbor, and put in the front door that wasn’t there before. It was a backroom for storage, so we built on the entryway area. The wood helps to break up the tile and is useful for hanging up décor.” High ceilings, southwest décor, vintage items, and home goods set against cool, neutral colors are accented by pieces throughout, like rugs made from cow hides, decorated longhorn cow skulls, and other handmade items. The flow of the shop leads you though an impressive display of pillows and blankets, a wall madisonessentials.com

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of wide-brimmed varied colored hats, accessories, apparel, kitchen, baby and kids clothes, corner display of Lily’s art, and plenty of options for gifts. Teresa uses the word eclectic to describe the store, although Lily finds it amusing when she does it. “I think it perfectly describes it, a nice mix,” says Teresa. “Home décor, new and vintage, art, accessories. The Gigi Pip hats, we both love hats, and people love to try out different styles. You can come in here and get something for your

kitchen or something to wear out on Saturday night.” The merchandise is always evolving depending on what people like to buy. “Like with home décor,” says Teresa. “Last year after reopening and people being home more, everybody was sick of looking at their walls, and we couldn’t keep shelves and things to hang on the walls in stock.” Lily likes to see what sells best, whether pieces that have sold well from the beginning or introducing customers to new products.

Teresa recalls visiting Round Top, Texas, for merchandise before they opened. “We had a full trailer and brought it back to Paoli. Recently, we went back to Round Top for our third trip for inventory. We love the south, and we really enjoy traveling for new finds.” A way to introduce yourself to these finds is to purchase a Happy Day Box. Pick a theme—self-care, kitchen, or home décor—and for $50, a curated box of handpicked items is shipped to you, saving time and receiving functional gifts with a timeless, vintage style. Daily postings on Facebook, like their Friday finds, showcasing new or favorite items, and a Facebook giveaway of Meet Me in Paoli bags help people find them quicker. Teresa says, “Social media is wonderful, a great way to spread the word. It can take three years for a business to be established and for people to find you. “Being consistent with postings is huge, especially during the pandemic when we were closed. It was actually a great time to grow a business because we weren’t in the store every day, so we focused on our social media and really promoting Lily’s. And our following group was huge during those months because people were home and coming across our postings. We did a lot of curbside pickup orders with our posts.” Lily says, “Because of COVID, people wanted to support local businesses

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more than ever and show that support in the community by purchasing our products. … I never thought that, when I was younger, I would be able to sell the artwork I love doing. Seeing how much I’ve sold from the time we’ve opened and how excited people are to buy the pieces makes me feel good and proud.” Going into business with family can cause a strain on the relationship; however, Teresa and Lily agree that it’s been a great experience. Lily laughs at the question. “A lot of people ask that, they come in and ask if you are still good with each other, and if you guys still like each other.” “It’s funny, I didn’t know how it was going to be, but it’s actually been great,” says Teresa. “We each quickly found our strengths and jobs in the store. We kind of do our own thing. It works really well.” Lily’s reflect the owners’ combined laid-back style with room to grow and showcase their passion for art-inspired pieces. Not pigeonholing themselves into any one style has allowed Lily and Teresa to keep moving forward in providing home and design comforts. Krystle Engh Naab is a freelance writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials.

Krystle Engh Naab

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

Lily’s Mercantile & Makery

6858 Paoli Road Belleville, WI 53508 (608) 636-4481 lilysmercantileandmakery.com madisonessentials.com

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essential food & beverage

Elena Terry and

NATIVE FOODS Elena Terry, member of the Hoca̧k (Ho-Chunk) Nation, is a chef and founder of Wild Bearies, a nonprofit catering company that places a high priority on education and community outreach using indigenous ingredients, traditional cooking methods, and responsible gardening strategies.

She grew up working with her grandmothers and siblings to make food for her family. They all had roles they enjoyed: her brother was a hunter; her uncle a trapper; and Elena often found herself in the kitchen processing food, from drying squash to preparing muskrats, with her grandmother.

by Anna Thomas Bates “I am 100 percent a processor,” says Elena. “I love transforming and preserving and being able to draw out flavors and textures with different techniques. I am a corn dryer, a butcher, and a forager, and I always have an end vision of how to keep an ingredient and utilize it.” Elena worked as an advocate for Indigenous youth for 12 years before returning to Wisconsin. She was an elected tribal legislator, but this work wasn’t for her. She ended up in a restaurant kitchen, where she felt a sense of family and acceptance. But she also felt like she was living two lives— working in an aggressive kitchen by day then driving back to her people in the evening for ceremonies. “I didn’t want to live two lives anymore. These foods can nourish all parts of me, and I made the transition to dedicate my time to Wild Bearies community outreach catering, a place where we use food to bring you back to community and restore your spirit.” The Wild Bearies’ website explains their mission with clarity. “An educational, community outreach nonprofit that strives to bring ancestral foods to communities in a nurturing and nourishing way. With goals of building stronger tribal communities through food, we are also a mentorship program. We work with our ingredients from seed to table while promoting traditional food systems and farming techniques.” Elena gives a sigh when asked about the role of food as medicine. “That’s a catchphrase right now, and I believe we should put an end to that. All food is medicine. All food is meant to nourish

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you. It’s supposed to fuel your physical body, but it’s more than that. … The medicine part for me is in building relationships, especially from those I get ingredients from.” The pandemic was a time of reflection for Elena. “I personally took 2020 as an opportunity to get grounded. We, as Indigenous people, can’t strive for food sovereignty if we’re facing food insecurity. Collectively, as a human race, we need to reexamine our food systems, and 2020 offered us time to do that.” As people’s interest in gardening piqued in 2020, Elena thinks more people now appreciate the energy it takes to have quality ingredients, and those who didn’t grow their own food invested in local growers more than ever before. This economic support is key to ensuring these local food sources continue to thrive. “I hope everyone continues to support them.” Gardening and, more specifically, growing native varieties of vegetables from carefully protected seeds are important parts of Elena’s work. Many seed varieties have been passed down through generations, some sown into clothes during the U.S. government’s forced removal of tribes from their lands in the 1800s. Wild Bearies has a garden where they grow native varieties of squash, corn,

beans, and more, but there’s also a secret garden that’s protected from contamination and meant solely for propagation of native seeds. While most gardeners simply order seeds from a catalog, it’s not that simple if you’re working with indigenous varieties.

Elena is also the Food and Culinary Program coordinator for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA), which has a food sovereignty program called Indigenous Seed Keepers Network. Preserving seeds is its own role, separate from the

find Your



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A variant of Three Sisters and an Undercover Brother Stew

farmer. Elena’s daughter is doing a seed internship to learn to care for native seeds. Some tribes count seeds among their members, as they’re precious and integral in preserving a way of life and food for future generations. “I like to think of the seeds as being asleep, and we wake them up by planting them in Mother Earth so they can fulfill their destiny,” says Elena. She tells the story of the Painted like a Horse Bean. She received only 20 seeds. She gave 10 to another tribal-run garden in Rosebud, South Dakota. Over the winter, she planted 3 seeds in order to propagate 12 more. Sharing the seeds is critical for diversification and protection. Elena’s Pueblo Hubbard squash crop was impacted by vine borers last season, but the squash planted in Iowa by the Meskwaki Nation had a productive season, ensuring this native food will continue to nourish people in the future. Squash is Elena’s favorite ingredient. “I am the Bubba Gump of squash.” She laughs. “I pickle it, dry it, and use it 16 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

all the time.” Pumpkins aren’t just for carving, and that hard, vibrantly colored corn isn’t just for decoration. Elena describes numerous ways everyone can be courteously involved with native foods. There are recipes focused on indigenous foods online, especially with chefs like Sean Sherman growing in popularity. The website for American Indian Foods (indianagfoods.org) has a directory of native food producers by state, and Elena encourages home cooks to approach their usual recipes differently and honor flavors that come from foods that were here long before them (and happen to be gluten and lactose free). She describes a stew she calls Three Sisters and an Undercover Brother, which has smoked turkey, hominy, dried and fresh squash, and beans. It’s versatile and can be modified for what you have on hand. “It’s not about eating decolonized. It’s about honoring these native foods and flavors and bringing them into your home.” She also encourages people to support those trying to farm responsibly. “There’s no denying things need to change. Regenerative farming needs to happen, and this is what we can do to make things better for the next generation.” She loves cross-cultural efforts to educate others on different practices, the flow of information and

goods from rural to urban areas, and connecting communities that may not have had relationships without her organization. Thanks to Elena and those like her, anyone interested in native foods has the opportunity to learn, taste, and cook in a way respectful to the land and cultures past. Anna Thomas Bates moved to Wisconsin 21 years ago, and after shopping at the Dane County Farmers’ Market and wandering through the Driftless Area, she hasn’t looked back. Co-owner of Landmark Creamery in Paoli, if she isn’t tasting/ selling cheese, you’ll find her writing about food, reading a good book, swimming, or hiking with her two boys. Photographs provided by Wild Bearies.

Anna Thomas Bates

WILD BEARIES wildbearies.org

Madison’s LGBTQ magazine since 2007


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essential arts

Clay, Glaze & Firing Mishima Hakeme Bowl

Whether we’re talking sculptors, painters, authors, musicians, or any other creative, decade after decade, the Midwest produces some of the most profound artists in the world. In recognition, this year we’re zooming out from Wisconsin to celebrate ceramicists in our neighboring states. Next stop: Illinois.

Photograph by William Lemke

Stamped Celadon Yunomi

For Hironobu “Nishi” Nishitateno, the marriage of form and function is only completed in the real—never in the abstract. A teacup with a subtle soft pinkish white hue comes to life when it encloses green tea. A plate or bowl that uses a soft bluish glaze is meant for summer usage to help suggest a coolness to contrast the heat of the day. 18 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

From Nishi’s artist statement: “My style is based on the simplicity and functionality of Japanese pottery, using natural materials and colors typical in nature. It is my belief that pottery should not be the center of attention on the dinner table. It should be simple and attractive, while discreetly adding to the delicious appearance of the food.

Copper Shinogi Tea Set

Photograph by William Lemke

Hironobu “Nishi” Nishitateno

I strive to create pottery that resonates with me and brings out my inner peace. It is my hope that the natural simplicity of my pottery can bring the same peace to others.” Nishi’s ambition for his work is deceptively simple. As his wheel-thrown forms, be they plates, tea pots, bud vases, or bowls, reach toward a perfection that can never be fully grasped, his intensity and spirituality, and his expressive passions, are increasingly invested in each unique effort.

Photograph by William Lemke

Photograph by Elizabeth Nishitateno

Nanten, or heavenly bamboo, is the name Nishi has chosen for his pottery. When the characters are separated, they mean south and heaven, which reflect his commitment to honoring his place of apprenticeship on the southern island of Kyushu at the Kagoshima Kogyu Gijustu Center and the transparency and sincerity of his artistic intention. Nishi continually refers to practicing exactness in the process and stages of each unique piece. When planning a new work, produced in exceedingly

Double Shinogi Yunomi madisonessentials.com

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Nishi’s creative intensity is one nurtured in specificity and rigor rather than spontaneity.

limited editions, the process begins with small sketches that evolve into a desired dimensional form. As he says, “Drawing is the ideal. But in the moment, there is change.” As he moves toward the final expression, each stage must be executed as exactly as possible. His creative intensity is one nurtured in specificity and rigor rather than spontaneity. Nishi’s creative life is inextricably entwined with his family life, which includes his American wife, Elizabeth, and their two daughters. Unalloyed joy spreads across his face as he describes preparing and placing food in front

of his daughters enhanced by just the right plate or bowl. Elizabeth and Nishi met in 2004, when she was teaching English in Japan. She is so much a part of his creative life that, in addition to managing his business affairs, not only does she serve as a translator when the exact turn of phrase might momentarily elude him, she also serves as a vocal advocate and virtual guarantor of his sincerity, his intensity, his spirituality, and his devotion both to his art and his family’s very existence. His expression of responsibility for his family and their welfare becomes the most vital part of his art.

Photograph by William Lemke

Octagonal Stamped Celadon Bowl

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Marlene Miller

Creating powerful, brooding, sometimes threatening sculptures from powerfully worked stoneware, Marlene’s work evokes the ghosts of Francisco Goya’s inquisitors and hooded clergy in Los Caprichos and The Disasters of War etching series. Life-sized busts of weathered, craggy, pock-marked, and ravaged, sometimes broken, men wearing the iconic headgear of bishop’s mitres, pointed dunce caps, tall triangular hoods reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan disguises or Spanish religious penitents caught up in spiritual frenzy, share her studio and exhibition space with earlier iterations of Marlene’s work: full-figured, pensive, aging female acrobats—plump young girls plaintively gesturing in short blue frocks and Mary Janes.

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Marlene’s work is grounded in her depiction of the human figure— sometimes tender and wistful, at times cocky and self-assured, ranging in scale from small talismanic sprites ensconced in architectural niches to over-life-sized, bald-headed men with the inscrutability and distant gaze of 1930s Italian prototypes of futuristic supermen. What’s so surprising and delightful is that these physically palpable works come from the deceptively strong hands of a woman who can only be described as existing on the edge of slight-ofstature. These powerfully worked pieces come from the self-assured and slender

Photograph by Marlene Miller

Photograph by Marlene Miller



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Marlene initially trained at Bradley University in nearby Peoria, Illinois, and completed her MFA at Syracuse. She later took a sabbatical from her teaching position at Illinois Central College (ICC) to do intensive research in human anatomy and figure drawing at Illinois State in Bloomington. In 1997, well into her two-decade teaching career at ICC, she approached the president of the college with a proposal to execute a 28-foot bas-relief sculpted mural to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the college, populated with life-sized portraits and abetted by a small Jack Russell terrier. After nine months of planning and months of engineering to build the necessary scaffolding of sufficient strength to hold 1,600 pounds of clay impregnated with sawdust and nylon fibers, she was ready for the yearlong effort it took to complete.

Marlene now shows her work across the country and internationally. She has developed a following of collectors and continues to make work that evokes powerful emotional responses from her viewers.

While the academic community embraced the work with great

YOU MAKE THE MEMORIES. WE’LL MAKE THEM LAST. Our shop features an extensive selection of frames, mats, and glazing, as well as a custom workshop to create designs inspired by your wildest ideas. NOW OPEN Tues – Sat, 10am – 5pm Appointments available by request

1901 Monroe St Madison, WI | 608.255.7330 | monroestreetframing.com 22 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Photograph by Marlene Miller

Beloved VI

hands of a person of strength driven by an intensity of character and vision.

enthusiasm, they did not anticipate the outcome: Marlene realizing that she needed to leave her teaching career and take on the challenge of supporting herself as a full-time artist. And so, in 2000, she handed in a letter of resignation, left the security of full-time employment, and set upon the path of working in the studio full-time. Figuring she had a two-year make-orbreak window, she actually devised a backup plan. While driving a vanload of work to the annual juried craft exhibition in Washington DC sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, she took careful note and copied down the ads on the backs of passing tractor trailers. “If this doesn’t work out,” she said to herself, “I can always become a longhaul trucker.” It worked out. Marlene now shows her work across the country and internationally. She has developed a following of collectors and continues to make work that evokes

powerful emotional responses from her viewers. Marlene is a voluble and highly expressive woman. Eager to share her enthusiasms and aspirations for her work, she bounces from narratives of professional challenges to stories of personal losses that strengthened her resolution and informed changes in her work. In a burst of excitement, she talked about working without preconditions, ensuring that spontaneity and discovery drive her creative output. She related how one of the menacing busts, which she refers to as “those bastards,” was not resolving to her satisfaction. “So I took a 2 x 4 to his forehead and nose.” The result is a brutish figure, dark and compelling, but insistent and unforgettable. Like the clay she works in—a substance whose plastic malleability encourages both rapid additions and savage subtractions—Marlene is a powerful and dynamic figure who engages in immediate give and take. Push and pull. Like her art, insistent and unforgettable.

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Arrow Jar

Delores Fortuna Delores Fortuna grew up on a dairy farm near Chetek, Wisconsin, outside of Eau Claire. It’s somewhat of a cliché, but nevertheless true, to note it’s not uncommon to find people who experienced the hard scrabble existence of farming often thrive when given an opportunity in an unrelated field. Delores went to the prestigious University of Chicago both for undergraduate and graduate school, studying with many pioneering artist/educators. She began her career in art after leaving behind her pursuit of mathematics. While working with the legendary German/British modernist sculptor and ceramicist Ruth Duckworth, she came to realize that “Life has to be the world you go into. This is what I am going to do—it has to be something you have a passion for.”

After facing life-threatening health challenges as a child, she felt that her survival—her life—became a sharable gift. What she concluded was that when many people, nonartists in particular, “see things they themselves cannot express they still inherently know, they intuit what is going on with her work when they encounter it.” This is her gift back. Her art exists as a kind of consanguineous occurrence in which artist and viewer share in the experience. Delores’ health challenges impeded her ability to walk unaided until she was in college. When she was young, she found great release and freedom and nearinstant grace when swimming, which had become part of her therapeutic ritual. Later, she discovered that working on the wheel—feeling the wet clay in her

Photograph by Delores Fortuna

Photograph by Delores Fortuna

Meg’s Bowls

24 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Photograph by Delores Fortuna

Photograph by Delores Fortuna

Post Modern Bowl

Flow Bowls

Tucked into a hilly forest outside of Galena, Illinois, she revels in the solitude that allows her to evolve the intimate and delightful functional objects that are her obsession. fingers and on her hands—reified that same experience of movement and flow experienced through manual control. Delores works in a rough-hewn studio crowded with both new and older work. Tucked into a hilly forest outside of Galena, Illinois, she revels in the solitude that allows her to evolve the intimate and delightful functional objects that are her obsession. Delores spent decades as a teacher while working as an artist, finishing her academic career at the Chicago Art Institute helping students discover the creative nexus of self-expression and perfected craft. She helped them understand the urgency of developing an “I statement” so they could see themselves blossoming in the work, investing it with personal narrative. Teaching created the opportunity for her to expand her experience of making art to foster more personal connections. She repeatedly enjoined her students to become more resilient, to accept challenges and defeats, and to find


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Photograph by Delores Fortuna

Libation Goblet Series as a complete form. When working a piece on the wheel, a dialogue takes place between the inside hand, creating the volume, and the outside hand, creating the silhouette. It’s this dialogue that results in the final form.

Delores works exclusively in what she describes as porcelain body, a clay that does not include iron, which tints what’s known as stoneware. She dismisses any notion of a fine-art-versus-craft dichotomy applying to what she makes. “Fine art versus craft is an American conversation. In Europe and Asia, there is no division in the continuum of art.”

The ultimate result of Delores’ adventure is one that exudes confidence, joy, and love of expression with the assured intention of bringing beauty to those who cannot make or articulate it within themselves. Despite all of the obstacles and challenges, her realization is simply “I wanted it more.” Her resiliency is homegrown, nurtured in the soil of Wisconsin farmland.

Her work is characterized by two complementary approaches. She begins every piece on the wheel, but then by scoring and hand-shaping the dimensions of the vessels, they become gently curved forms with distinct geometric changes of contour. Glazed with color blocks of intense turquoise, ochre, or sienna, she then threads them with delicate traceries of spidery marks that reinforce or enhance the anatomy of the piece. Delores says that when people look at pieces of pottery, they see silhouette and volume, but picking the piece up, they feel the marriage of these 26 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Chris Gargan is a landscape artist and freelance writer working from his farm southwest of Verona. You can find his work at Abel Contemporary Gallery in Stoughton. He is seen here with his dog Tycho Brahe in front of his wife’s, Nancy Herzog’s, hydrangeas.

Chris Gargan

Photograph by Larassa Kabel

inspiration in doing the work rather than waiting for an external revelation. “If you wait for the thunderbolt, your coffee is going to get cold,” says Delores. She insists that it’s in doing the work that the inspirational triggers emerge.

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e ssential community


Goes to Hippie Town by Kyle Jacobson

Photograph by Melody Chavez

Muhammad Ali on a black-and-white tv, and she goes, ‘I just love that man. I just love what he’s trying to do.’”

Chris Brockel comes from a village a million miles away from Madison. At least, that’s what it felt like to him in the 60s and 70s. If residents in the late 1800s were more familiar with French accents, the village would’ve been named Paquette. But they weren’t, so we call it Poynette. One of Chris’ first experiences with Madison was during a field trip his class took in the early 70s. “I remember getting pushed out of the State Historical Society onto a bus on Langdon Street as kids as fast as we could,” says Chris. “Looking down Langdon Street, there’s students on the far end, and there’s cops in front of Memorial Union, and there’s a bunch of teargas in the air.” In terms of what the world was outside Poynette, his eyes started to open. Chris’ grandma had been subtly prepping him for the outside world even before the field trip. “I learned a lot from that woman. She had this sense of social justice that she never would say out loud, but it came across in other ways. I remember sitting with her watching 28 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

When it came time to decide whether or not he’d go to college, Chris elected to roll the dice at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “I wanted to get out and see the world and push myself. My dad and I didn’t have a good relationship at that point (we do now), so I was going to revolt against anything that he wanted me to do. So I’m going to Madison, and he was like, ‘No!’ To him, it was like coming to hippie town.” There was something about a university in the city that made Chris feel like a farm boy surrounded by really smart people, even though all signs pointed to Chris being pretty bright himself. One day, Professor Jerry Apps pulled him aside and said, “Chris, you’re a really smart guy, but you gotta start speaking up. You have something to say, and you are a poet. But you sit there, and you’re quiet. It’s either that you don’t trust what you have to say or you’re cowed by everyone else in the room.” It was something Chris needed to hear—he didn’t just have value as an individual, but he had value to others. After struggling to put his teaching degree to use in a competitive and saturated market, Chris decided to go to grad school and continue his studies in vocational education. “The thought was that I would become a teacher of adults with a focus on literacy and high school completion.” When he worked at the Dane County jail for Omega school, another wave of someone else’s reality hit him. “It pushed my comfort zone. Pushed my boundaries. Taught me a lot of things. I was just a young guy from a small town, and my eyes were wide

open.” The biggest lesson came from the program directors, who taught Chris that to help someone you start by giving them respect and bringing dignity to what they already know. You start from a position that empowers them, not a deficit position. The next place Chris found himself was developing training programs for Head Start and for people at the job center; a few years in, things were going pretty well. But...well, “In the early 2000s, there was the whole welfare reform push. It was both national and local. Bill Clinton was a big welfare reform guy, and so was Tommy Thompson. Basically, between the two, welfare reform training became ‘get a job,’ and so I was laid off.” After months of looking for jobs and living on unemployment, Chris found an opening at the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin. They were looking for a food and gardens division manager. “What do I know about any of that? I got the job mainly because I had the nonprofit management experience. Certainly wasn’t my foodie experience because I didn’t have any. “The amazing thing after I got the job, and it didn’t take long, was realizing how much I enjoyed it. How much it was feeding a passion that I didn’t even know existed in me.” Chris’ work spanned everything from greatly expanding the number of Madison community gardens to helping create the system that allowed people to use their EBT cards at the Farmers’ Market. “My theory is you don’t beat people up,” says Chris. “You don’t threaten to take away food stamps or limit what they can buy with food stamps. What you

Photograph by Frankie Pobar-Lay

Photograph by Frankie Pobar-Lay

Chris later worked with United Way to write a healthy food plan for children, and then worked at FairShare CSA Coalition. But as much as he appreciated that work, it wasn’t feeding his passion. He eventually left FairShare and created Health Food for All, which he now runs out of FEED Kitchens. “My experience at FairShare was that these [organic] farms will eventually have excess produce that they don’t know what to do with. They’d like to do something with it, but they don’t have the time. No single one of them had enough produce or donations to make it worthwhile for someone like

Second Harvest to come out and get it. So what I constantly heard from them is they’d like to do it, but there needs to be a system for collecting it. I can do that! That’s certainly what I grew up doing.” A real breakthrough moment happened when Epic reached out to Chris concerning their big wine and dine events. “They feed them breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, so there’s tons of leftover food. They didn’t want to throw it all out and needed a place for it to go.” Recalling that first trial run, Chris says, “I was bringing cups of fruit salad to St. Vincent de Paul food pantry on that Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend, and people were standing in line. They saw me carrying these in and were like, ‘Oh my god! Are we going to get that today?’ “And I’m like, ‘Yep, yep.’ “‘Oh great, that’ll go great with my Labor Day picnic.’ “At that point I realized...something’s right about this.” Chris’ current position as manager of Northside Planning Council’s FEED Kitchens allows him to continue using his strengths to fuel his passions. The facility has five commercial kitchens for rent, giving businesses, nonprofits, training programs, and individuals the means to produce food legally so it can be sold to the public. Honestly, I don’t think Chris is done, and from what he’s told me, he seems more confident than ever he’s in the best position to give Dane County everything he has to offer. Kyle Jacobson is a writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials.

Kyle Jacobson


Photograph by Barbara Wilson

do is you give them dignified choices. ... People aren’t making bad choices; they’re making the choices that are presented to them.”

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essential pets



by Dr. Lori Scarlett, DVM

There’s a book and many websites devoted to dog-shaming pictures. Many of these are hilarious, but the behavior of the dogs is often rooted in anxiety, which is definitely not funny to the dog. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and they like routine. Having owners home more often during the pandemic was initially tough on the pets, but dogs became accustomed to having their owners around more. Many people adopted new pets, and these animals never knew a time when their humans weren’t around all day. But as owners started going back to work and spending more time away from home, anxious behaviors started showing up or recurred. Separation anxiety is not boredom. It’s akin to a person having a panic attack. Some signs of separation anxiety in dogs can include urinating or defecating in the house when left alone; destruction 30 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

of furniture, doors, cages, floors, etc.; and vocalization. These dogs are often very attached to the owner and follow them around the house. The difficulty is that these behaviors can occur due to other things: boredom, incomplete house training, underlying bladder infection, or other anxieties. Some signs of separation anxiety are more subtle. Anxiety suppresses the appetite, so dogs that only eat when the owner is home may have covert separation anxiety. An anxious dog may pace and pant all day, so the owner might notice excessive thirst when they get home. Some dogs will try to block an owner’s departure, potentially with aggression. Cats can have covert separation anxiety too. The primary behavior is urination outside the litter box. Defecation, destruction, and vocalization are much less common. I heard of one dog

that would physically try to keep the owners from leaving the house, actually attacking their feet. They thought the dog had separation anxiety and set up a video camera to help with the diagnosis. What they found was that it was the cat that had the anxiety! As soon as the owner left, the cat would start yowling for the entire day, which made the dog try to stop the owner from leaving. If you suspect your dog has separation anxiety, getting videos is very important for the diagnosis. You want a video of a routine departure as well as a nonroutine departure. This would be coming home at the end of the day then going back out to dinner. Some pets may be fine for a regular leaving, but being left again can increase the anxiety. “Velcro” dogs may just have hyperattachment and not separation anxiety, which is treated differently. Some dogs have confinement anxiety, and will be destructive if caged. If they don’t have separation anxiety,

Having your dog

diagnosed and treated is the

best thing you can do. Ignoring the behavior or dog shaming won’t help.

Dogs with separation anxiety often have other phobias, such as noise, thunderstorms, or car travel. Pain can worsen anxiety, so if you have an older dog that normally does okay at home or during thunderstorms and suddenly has signs of anxiety, it could be arthritis. Once you have a diagnosis, there are a number of ways to help your dog. Dr. Debra Horowitz, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, helped develop the BOND program. B is for Be Positive. Focus on rewarding positive behaviors. Don’t reprimand or punish; ignore the negative behaviors. Remember that your dog is not being bad or spiteful; they’re panicked and can’t help it!

O is for Only Reward Calm behavior. Ignore your dog when it’s overly excited, and remember, if you get excited, your dog will too. So make homecomings quiet and subdued and wait for your dog to settle down before giving it attention. Look for opportunities to spend relaxed time with your dog. N is for No More Drama. Don’t tell your dog how sorry you are to be leaving. Give your dog something special, like a treat or toy, 30 minutes prior to leaving. Make your departure the best part of their day. It’s also helpful to desensitize your dog to your leaving routine. A few times a week, get your keys and purse like you’re going to leave, then go back to your previous activity. D is for Develop Your Dog’s Independence. Provide a safe place for your dog to be calm when you’re gone and teach your dog to stay there for increased periods of time when you’re home to help decrease his distance from you. This might require starting at just five seconds and working up. There are a variety of antianxiety medications that your veterinarian can prescribe to help. Some dogs need daily Reconcile (fluoxetine specifically for dogs) as well as other medications to give prior to departures. Some dogs benefit from wearing some type of anxiety wrap, like a ThunderShirt. Adaptil is a calming pheromone produced by mother dogs. This is particularly helpful for anxious puppies, but can affect anyage dog. There are nutraceuticals and a special probiotic that can also be part of the treatment. Employing the help of a certified separation anxiety trainer

or a veterinary behaviorist may be needed too. What doesn’t help? Punishment. You may feel better, but it will only heighten your dog’s anxiety when you return home. That guilty look you think you see? That isn’t guilt, but rather an appeasement gesture. Your dog doesn’t know what they did wrong, but knows you’re angry or expects punishment when you get home. These gestures include yawning, turning the head away, creeping away with ears back, or standing crouched with the tail tucked. Getting a second dog is also not very helpful. Separation anxiety is about not being with their human and probably won’t be improved with another dog around. Having your dog diagnosed and treated is the best thing you can do. Ignoring the behavior or dog shaming won’t help. These dogs usually get worse without treatment. So if you’re worried about your pet, please reach out to your veterinarian for help. Lori Scarlett, DVM, is the owner and veterinarian at Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic. For more information, visit fourlakesvet.com.

Lori Scarlett, DVM & Charlie


Photograph by Brenda Eckhardt

then leaving them loose in the house will be the cure.

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e ssential landmark

First Lutheran CHURCH

by Jeanne Engle The largest group of immigrants to relocate to Wisconsin during the 19th century came from Germany. Settlement was especially heavy in Wisconsin during the first wave of immigration around the middle of the century. Farmers came from the Mecklenburg region in northeast Germany to the Town of Middleton in Dane County.

Places in 1988. No longer part of any denomination, the “Little White Church on top of the hill,” actually not that little, is open to the public for weddings, memorial services, and other community events. Located at 711 N. Pleasant View Road, Middleton, the church can accommodate up to 250 people.

In 1852, 14 of the families founded the German Lutheran Church of Middleton. After meeting for two years in the homes of Gustav Polkow and Friederich Niebuhr, the congregation built a log church in 1854 on land donated by Niebuhr. As membership grew, the congregation decided to build a new church on land donated by Polkow. Thirty-one families provided materials and gave $82 each (the equivalent of about $1,350 today) for construction. In May 1866, the church was dedicated.

First Lutheran Church is a simple frame Greek Revival structure 32 feet wide by 90 feet long. One of the finest 19th century frame churches remaining in Dane County, First Lutheran has a gable roof slightly steeper than the standard Greek Revival. Surrounding the church on three sides is a cemetery where its founders and their descendants are buried. The gable end faces the street and is trimmed with returned eaves. The original cedar shingles on the roof are now covered with asphalt shingles.

That church, known today as First Lutheran Church, was added to the National Register of Historic

A graceful square steeple over the main entrance has an octagonal spire with a simple weather vane atop. The belfry

32 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

enclosing the church’s bell, which is still used, has pointed arched openings on all four sides and Italianate brackets above the arches. A sloping roof flares out from the base of the belfry and is trimmed on each side with carved Gothic arches and spindles on each corner. The two sides of the church are nearly identical, with windows of the same design as the tall double-hung, six-oversix sash windows flanking each side of the front door. When the church was lengthened by 40 feet in 1885, windows were replicated in the addition, another entrance to the church was made on the south side, the outside steps under the bulkhead doors on the side and front of the church were removed, and the basement entrance sealed. The church’s interior is flooded with light because of its windows and whitepainted walls. The pews are simple pine seats that have been hand-grained to look like oak. The wood altar and pulpit, part of the 1885 remodeling, are painted

white with gold trim. An elaborate Victorian chandelier, originally holding kerosene lamps but now electrified, hangs near the altar. Its mate hangs near the back of the church.

John Green, great grandson of founder Niebuhr, grew up in the area. He remembers relaxing in the cemetery surrounding First Lutheran Church when he took a break from working on his father’s and grandfather’s farm. His grandfather had married Niebuhr’s daughter and inherited 80 acres, half of Niebuhr’s land, when Niebuhr passed. “It was a magical place, lush with prairie flowers and big shade trees,” says John. “I grew up loving that cemetery without even realizing its history. For our family, the church has been the site of burials, baptisms, and a 25th wedding anniversary celebration. My wife and I also plan to be buried there. During

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Sandy Schwenn Reno, great, great granddaughter of Carl Schenck, the church’s founding pastor, has multiple connections to First Lutheran. She and her husband were married there. Her parents; grandparents; great grandparents; three sets of great, great grandparents; and favorite aunts and uncles are buried in the cemetery. “When I visit the church and its cemetery, I feel warmly welcomed by those who came before me,” she says. “Knowing their stories and the courage they showed in the face of so many challenges fills me with awe and respect for them.”

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Until 1947, when First Lutheran Church closed its doors due to dwindling membership, services were still conducted in German. The building stood empty for many years. and it was only a matter of time before the Lutheran synod that First Lutheran belonged to didn’t want to care for the building and directed that it be burned. The late Beatrice Ersland, Niebuhr’s granddaughter, would have nothing of it. She was instrumental in saving the church along with a community of volunteers who raised money to restore

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In 1866, before the addition.

Photograph provided by Historic First Lutheran Church

Photograph by Ueda Photography

A pipe organ, built by a Milwaukee firm, was added in 1907. Unfortunately, today the organ is merely ornamental. An old church story recounts how a young member would sit behind the organ and pump the bellows. Once, a boy charged with this duty fell asleep waiting to pump it. The sermon most likely went long that day, and the closing hymn delayed until the source of the problem was discovered.

the bicentennial celebration, on July 4, 1976, my daughter pulled the rope to ring the bell in celebration of two centuries of independence.”


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Photograph by Ueda Photography

great grandparents on both sides of his family. He welcomes volunteers interested in preserving the church who are willing to put in a few hours of work to care for it.

Bruce Michaelis is chair of the board. His roots at First Lutheran go back to

First Lutheran Church is a popular wedding venue even for couples who have no direct connection to its founders or past members. They can rent the church for $300. Ceremonies are limited to May through October because the church has neither heating nor air conditioning. True to its rustic nature, there are no restrooms on premises and no dressing room for the bride.

Photograph by Ueda Photography

Sandy says, “The Little White Church on top of the hill will always provide

an iconic setting and lends itself well to either a formal or informal event. Its beauty and charm will not change with the times. Couples and families will be able to return years later and find the church just as they left it.” Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer.

Jeanne Engle

Photograph by MOD Media Productions

it. Volunteers and a board of trustees, many of whom are descendants of the founders, still take care of the property. Funds are raised from building rentals, cemetery plot sales, and donations.

An annual service, a tradition of First Lutheran halted by COVID-19, will most likely resume in September this year. Check historicfirstlutheranmiddleton.org for up-to-date information. 34 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s




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essential nonprofit


Innovation Incubator by Kyle Jacobson

Though all nonprofits focus on their individual missions, from education to recreation and healthcare to home repair, they’re simultaneously improving the lives of everyone in their communities by addressing underfunded or inadequately met needs. But even with around 3,000 nonprofits in Dane County and 19,000 public charities across the state, the undertaking is often larger than many of us appreciate. As a nonprofit with 50 years under its belt, JustDane amplifies its impact by dedicating some of its resources toward functioning as a nonprofit incubator. They have their own programs to achieve their mission statement—to transform individual lives and social systems to create a just and equitable community—but they can better meet their aim by working as a fiscal agent 36 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

and providing administrative services to those who share in their vision. When deciding whether to take on a new nonprofit, Executive Director Linda Ketcham says, “First and foremost, the board looks at how does that align with our mission statement. ... The board also looks at how much of my time or how much of an office administrator’s time being a fiscal agent might take and whether we feel like we have the capacity to do that. ... Typically the goal is that the group would spinoff and become its own nonprofit so that it doesn’t necessarily stay housed under us forever. That then frees us up to provide that function for another idea or another group.” It’s not hard to imagine that there’s a wide variety of services different

organizations require when they approach JustDane—sometimes it’s just a person with an idea and other times it’s an established organization looking to grow. The nature of adopting such a wide variety of initiatives means not just evaluating how much time is needed each day for JustDane to provide their services to another organization, but how long the organization will need to operate under the JustDane umbrella. For example, “One of the more recent projects we served as the incubator/fiscal agent for was the Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, which is a statewide interfaith advocacy group. That group focuses a lot on economic justice, so that fit us well. They were under our umbrella, and I’m still on the board with them. Part of it is just to have that nonprofit umbrella so you have some internal administrative functions covered while you’re working on things, like developing your bylaws, developing a business plan, doing some fundraising.” It only took three years before Wisconsin Faith Voices became its own nonprofit.

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Because of JustDane’s work to ensure nonprofits are prepared before going off on their own, the advantages of getting under JustDane’s incubator program’s umbrella has historically led to ongoing success.

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In contrast, their work with Street Pulse Newspaper started 14 years ago and is still ongoing. “With Street Pulse, individuals who are experiencing homelessness are the vendors; they essentially function as contractors, so they purchase the newspaper from Street Pulse at 25 cents a copy and then sell the paper at 75 cents. That income then is theirs as contractors. Then they can purchase more to sell. Our vendors are screened, and they’re approved by Street Pulse. They have assigned areas in which to sell. A lot of our vendors also write for the paper. “It still aligns with our mission because we have focused always on housing and homelessness, but because the board membership and the vendor membership can be transient, it’s just a much longer process in terms of getting bylaws in place and just the day-to-day stuff. Being homeless, I can’t fathom what that’s like in this community, but I know that if I’m serving on the board for Street Pulse and I’m also a vendor, there’s a million other things on a day-

to-day basis that I have to focus on. ... The long-term goal for Street Pulse is to become its own 501(c)(3).” Fortunately for organizations like Street Pulse, there are other organizations in the country doing similar things. One function of JustDane’s incubator program is to reach out to those doing work similar to the nonprofits under their umbrella to make a connection, which sometimes results in the nonprofits merging to benefit everyone involved. In fact, Porchlight resulted from Transitional Housing, Inc. merging with CHAS, Family Enhancement is now part of Centers for Family, and Linda just learned that Centro Hispano started out under the JustDane fiscal agency program. One of the most time-intensive aspects of running a nonprofit that sometimes gets overlooked by startups actually delayed my interview with Linda for this article. We had to push it off because she was in the middle of writing four grants. It’s something that many new nonprofits

Organizations Incubated by JustDane (formerly MUM) Project Home, Inc. Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice Befrienders Program Dane County Affordable Housing Coalition Wexford Ridge Neighborhood Center Project Self Determination Mentoring and Tutoring Program Madison Community Health Center

Because of JustDane’s work to ensure nonprofits are prepared before going off on their own, the advantages of getting under JustDane’s incubator program’s umbrella has historically led to ongoing success. Consider one of their oldest incubated organizations, Project Home, which dates back to the early 70s. Since its inception, Project Home continues to be extremely successful, lifting up everyone in Dane County by directly helping nearly 60,000 individuals. With its incubator program, JustDane is able to ensure a wider range of our community’s needs are being met. More importantly, those needs are being met

thoughtfully and more thoroughly with the aid of an experienced hand backed by an impressive track record.

Elder Care Older Adult Coalitions (Near East Side, East Side/Monona, West Side, South Side)

Kyle Jacobson is a writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials.

Over 55 Employment Services

Photographs provided by JustDane.

SAFE Nights

Kyle Jacobson

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

simply don’t have the resources for, be it time or knowledge.

Family Enhancement Family Connections (Family Connections has become a JustDane program again) Transitional Housing, Inc. (merged in 2004 to become Porchlight) Extended Day Kindergarten Program Voices Beyond Bars Allied Wellness Center

Current Incubator Projects Allied-Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association Street Pulse Newspaper (Homeless Cooperative) Allied Partners First Unitarian Society Eviction Prevention Fund


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e ssential community

It’s Systemic by Sandy Eichel Welcome back to the “us” in inclUSion. This series discusses how we’re responsible for the culture we live in and for the changes that need to be made. We are in this together, but we all have to do some work individually too. It’s our responsibility, and it will take all of us contributing to make real change. In our first segment, we talked about that very thing—playing our part and being an ally to people and communities that are experiencing oppression. Part of being a good ally is to challenge the biases we have that were programmed into us by society, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. In our second segment, we talked about unintentional or unconscious bias and how the patterns of our brains have been trained to think the way that we do. Being uncomfortable is a part of challenging your own biases. A year ago, protests broke out all over the country and all over the world over the violence and oppression that happens 40 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

to Black people in this country. The catalytic event was the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Many white people in the United States were shocked by these protests and failed to understand the weight of oppression that Black people face in this country every day. Even for white people who protested and supported the protests, their understanding may be incomplete regarding the origin of our country’s system to give advantages to white people and oppress Black people. This is what is called systemic oppression. Systemic oppression refers to the mistreatment of people within a specific group supported and enforced by society and all of its institutions. It permeates every system, from educational to financial to entertainment, and it causes all of us to suffer with unintentional bias. It’s baked into the way we do everything without us realizing it. In Lonnae O’Neal’s article in The Undefeated, Ibram X. Kendi, author, professor, and

historian of race and discriminatory policy in America, says, “You can be someone who has no intention to be racist, but because you’re conditioned in a world that is racist and a country that is structured in anti-Black racism, you yourself can perpetuate those ideas.” Now let’s look at systemic racism versus individual racism. Individual racism is often identifiable because of its overt nature while systemic racism is less perceptible because it’s far more subtle and covert. Systemic racism originates in the operation of established and respected forces in our society and, because of that, receives far less public condemnation than individual racism. Systemic racism is discrimination in all parts of our society, including criminal justice, employment, housing, healthcare, political power, and education. It has prevented people over hundreds of years and multiple generations from having the same advantages and opportunities as others,

making any degree of progress today seem more significant than it actually is because it addresses only a symptom and not the larger issue. Not only does systemic racism affect every aspect of life, it’s cumulative and it’s everywhere. There are other types of systemic oppression. Systemic homophobia is the societal norm that implies that heterosexuality is normal, and that everyone is or should be heterosexual. Systemic transphobia is the societal norm that everyone should be cisgender, which means that they identify their gender with their birth sex. Like systemic racism, systemic homophobia and transphobia can be subtle. An overt example of homophobia and transphobia is when someone yells a homophobic or transphobic slur out of the window as they drive by. That’s obvious, right? Examples of systemic homophobia are when a couple that has been together for 50 years still has to tell their family that they are “roommates” for fear of being shunned by their family, how it’s much harder for a same sex couple to adopt than a straight couple because a straight couple is assumed to be more stable or more of a suitable family, and that when a same sex couple travels they have to pretend they are siblings to avoid having problems and harassment. Examples of systemic transphobia are that trans people can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their apartments, denied life-saving medical treatments, and other services simply because they are transgender and it’s legal to do so in many states in this country. In Wisconsin, we have an antidiscrimination law that prevents that happening based on sexual orientation, but not on gender identity. The transgender community is often left out of the advancements for the rest of the LGB community. LGBTQ+ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide and 40 percent of transgender folx have attempted suicide. Trans women of color experience the most amount of violence and are more likely to be murdered than any other diverse group, which is the

concept of intersectionality. The term was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a lawyer, civil rights advocate, scholar, and philosopher. Intersectionality is how a person’s social and political identities might combine to create unique layers of discrimination and overlapping systems of disadvantage. So a woman may experience certain levels of discrimination and a Black man others, but a Black woman may experience a multiplied effect because of the intersection of those two identities. So a Black trans woman finds herself at the bottom of the privilege pyramid and then, unfortunately, receives an even larger multiplied effect of discrimination. I have just scratched the surface of systemic oppression. Understanding and being mindful of systemic oppression and the impact of intersectionality can help us to catch our own biases and, in turn, change our own behaviors. As we continue our series, we will discuss even more things we need to realize and talk

about—things we can do every day to change our own behavior and behaviors of those around us. Stay tuned and keep this tremendously important work going; it’s crucial if we want our systems and society to change for the better. Sandy Eichel is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Speaker and Consultant.

Sandy Eichel

Check out our video podcast series with Sandy, The Us in InclUSion, at madisonessentials.com. madisonessentials.com

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essential travel



Photograph provided by Visit Eau Claire

by Anne Sayers

42 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

One of the greatest things about Wisconsin is that, no matter where you go, there’s something unexpected ready to be discovered. I love helping people make these discoveries. The Eau Claire buzz is sweeping the nation, and you just have to check it out!

the beat of its own drum and encourages visitors to join in the fun. This is where farm kids grow up to be artists and entrepreneurs. Where attitude is more important than age. Where hospitality is legit. Where originality is celebrated. In a word: indie.

Eau Claire could probably lay claim to being the “Indie Capital of the Midwest,” but trademarking that is too corporate for this independent-minded university town. Instead, Eau Claire, located at the confluence of the crystal-clear Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers, marches to

Located in west-central Wisconsin, Eau Claire gets its name from French fur traders who were sailing down the Chippewa River when they came upon a tributary and, so the story goes, exclaimed “Voici l’eau claire!—Here is the clear water!” If you’re ready to discover

the clear water and a whole lot more, here are some ideas to get started.


Drone/Aerial Imagery

If you’re looking for a place to stay that inspires, check out The Oxbow Hotel, right in the heart of downtown. This revamped boutique hotel has gorgeous aesthetic touches, including a turntable in every room. Don’t worry, you don’t have to bring your own records—there’s a lending library right in the lobby! They also have The Lakely, a stunning restaurant with fantastic craft cocktails and farm-to-table cuisine. When you wander the city, check out the vibrant and beautiful public art. With 60 outdoor sculptures—and growing—from local and international artists, Eau Claire is home to the second-largest outdoor sculpture tour in the nation, and it’s completely free to art-loving visitors. There are fantastic local galleries and shops throughout downtown, like B-Framed Galleries, Tangled Up in Hue, and Artisan Forge.

Fully licensed - FAA part 333 Waiver Stunning stills and 4k video

tadphoto.com - etadsen@icloud.com - 608-469-2255 charge in sight. Looking for something a little more laid back? The Acoustic Café offers hoagies; soups; and salad with, you guessed it, live music.

After a long day of art, satisfy your appetite at The Plus: a casual eatery with fantastic pizza as well as live music and shows, or the Mousetrap Tavern: a venue with live music and never a cover


Photograph provided by Travel Wisconsin

Photograph provided by Travel Wisconsin

Eau Claire has one of the fastest-rising art and music scenes in America. It’s home to several music festivals, including the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, founded by native son Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and the Blue Ox Music Festival.

Tadsen Photography

The Eau Claire area is filled with fantastic places to bike and hike, like the 30-mile Chippewa River State Trail, starting in Phoenix Park right in downtown Eau Claire and traveling along the Chippewa River through prairies, sandstone bluffs, and wetlands. And if you’re an avid cyclist, start your day at the SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar. If you want a longer ride, head south to a pizza farm, like Farm to Fork Retreat, where their refurbished horse barn hosts wood-fired pizza night with locally sourced ingredients, or head north from Eau Claire to River Bend Vineyard & Winery for a glass of their River Bend Rosé. And, of course, with the roaring waters of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers, there are plenty of water activities. You can rent everything you need for madisonessentials.com

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Photograph provided by Travel Wisconsin

Photo by Kevin Sink

kayaking, tubing, and boating. There are also plenty of great spots for fishing and birdwatching.

OPEN DAILY! 3330 atwood ave. madison, wi 53704 olbrich.org | 608-246-4550



44 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

After all that, you’ll need a place to rest, and there are plenty of campgrounds in the surrounding area. South of the city, there’s Stoney Creek RV Resort, with tent and RV sites as well as cabins to rent.


While travel enthusiasts compare Eau Claire to Austin and Portland, there are still things exclusive to the Badger State. First, you can step back in time and explore a real logging camp at the

Photograph provided by Visit Eau Claire

If you want some friendly competition, how about a game of kubb at Owen Park? I know it’s technically a Swedish lawn game, but it’s become a favorite pastime in Wisconsin. Eau Claire became the “Kubb Capital of North

Tr provided by

avel Wiscons


Photograph provided by Travel Wisconsin

America” because they host the annual National Kubb Championships. And if you want a souvenir, I especially love The Local Store, located in a historic downtown building. Everything is made by Wisconsin crafters—art, apparel, books, home goods, music, décor, food, drink, and more. All of that would probably leave you pretty hungry. You’ll need to get some of our state’s most famous culinary delights at Eau Claire Cheese & Deli. You want a Wisconsin fish fry? The locals love 4 Mile Restaurant & Bar, Westside Bar & Grill, and Eau Claire Ale House for their Friday night tradition. Speaking of ale, we must talk about beer. Eau Claire is home to several local craft breweries, including The Brewing Projekt, with creative and fun beers constantly in the works. They have a great dog-friendly taproom with a kubb pitch, of course, and a rooftop patio. There’s also K Point Brewery, whose restaurant boasts a mean fish fry. If you want more traditional brews, look to Lazy Monk Brewing; the oldest brewery in Eau Claire has a classic German-style beer hall with steins to match.


Wisconsin Logging Museum, featuring Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox. Learn more about the area’s history at the Chippewa Valley Museum’s historical and cultural exhibits, and step back in time at their authentic 1950s ice cream parlor.

Cozy up for the night at the Otter Creek Inn, with a full breakfast and a jacuzzi tub in every room and a friendly welcome by the local owner. These are just a few ideas, but there is so much more to uncover in the city of clear water and cool vibes. Check out travelwisconsin.com to learn more! Anne Sayers is the acting secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. travelwisconsin.com.

Anne Sayers


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advertiser index association

Tornado Steak House..................................... 33

Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce..... 47

Vintage Brewing Co. ........................................ 5

Dane Buy Local............................................... 41

CONTEST Win a One-Hour Massage at

Dane County Humane Society...................... 2

entertainment & media

Fitchburg Center............................................. 48

Back of the House Online Video Series....... 46

Green Lake Chamber of Commerce............ 8

Olbrich Botanical Gardens........................... 44

Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of

Our Lives Magazine........................................ 17

Commerce.................................................... 7

UMOJA Magazine........................................... 37

Town of Merrimac............................................ 15

WORT-FM........................................................... 44


dining, food & beverage


Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream....................... 9

Bergamot Massage & Bodywork.................... 5

“Which local restaurant preceded La Kitchenette at 805 Williamson Street?”

Clasen’s European Bakery............................. 16

The Edge of Freshness Hair Studio LLC......... 16

Firefly Coffee House & Artisan Cheese......... 5

Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic.......................... 31

Fraboni’s Italian

Monroe Street Framing................................... 22

Specialties & Delicatessen......................... 23

Tadsen Photography...................................... 43

Kingdom African Restaurant......................... 38

WESLI................................................................. 13

Lombardino’s................................................... 11


The Nitty Gritty................................................. 25

Abel Contemporary Gallery................... 19, 35

The Old Feed Mill Restaurant........................ 29

Anthology......................................................... 35

Old Sugar Distillery.......................................... 17

Avid Gardener................................................. 35

Otto’s Restaurant & Bar.................................. 13

Deconstruction Inc......................................... 15

Paoli Schoolhouse American Bistro............. 37

JNJ Gifts and More........................................... 9

Porta Bella........................................................ 39

Little Luxuries.................................................... 35

Sugar River Pizza Company........................... 20

National Mustard Museum.............................. 7

Tempest Oyster Bar......................................... 33

Ulla Eyewear..................................................... 35



($80 value)

Enter by submitting your answer to the above question online at madisonessentials.com or by mail with your name, mailing address, phone number, and email to: Madison Essentials c/o Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174 Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 All entries with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for one of two gift cards for a one-hour massage. Contest deadline is July 26, 2021. Gift card will be honored at Bergamot Massage & Bodywork.

Good Luck!

Winners Thank you to everyone who entered our previous contest. The answer to the question “Which locally owned business began on the 100 block of State Street in 1972?” is Fontana Sports. A $50 Otto’s Restaurant & Bar gift card was sent to each of our winners, Lavonne H. Majerle of Stoughton and Mary Woods of Morrison, IL.

CONGRATULATIONS! 46 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s


1 -1 10 LY JU • N IO T A R B E L E C CIRCUS






Profile for Towns & Associates

Madison Essentials July/August 2021  

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