We want to thank you all for being part of our gallery for the last 5 years. It has been an incredible experience for us. We are going through some changes and wanted to update you all on what is happening in our lives. Some of you may not know but we have two boys Everett James, 8 and Forrest May, 6 (the gallery’s namesakes).
Forrest was born with a cleft lip and palate and has had surgeries to correct those issues. We have a long road ahead with orthodontic care and speech, but he is doing well.
Everett was born with a heart defect and had open-heart surgery at the age of 1. He also has autism and epilepsy. It is an everyday challenge, but we somehow seem to manage with a lot of services and therapies.
About 6 years ago we bought the building we live in and have James May Gallery. It took us a year to remodel (all ourselves) and now we have had James May Gallery open for almost 5 years. It has been a challenge in a rural community but since opening our downtown has seen a tremendous revitalization. We are very proud of what we have accomplished.
About two years ago we purchased the building that is now James May North. The space is amazing and about three times the size of our current gallery, and we are just starting to see its potential.
That brings us to our current situation. About 2 weeks ago Everett had his annual check up with his heart doctor. They did an echo-cardiogram and found some things to be concerned about. It turns out he has Non-Compaction cardiomyopathy syndrome, swelling of the heart and one of his ventricles has some restriction. He had a heart monitor on for three days and that came back as normal, but we are meeting with a team of doctors to figure out a plan to move forward.
Needless to say, this news has shaken us to the core. We are 3 hours from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin which is one of the top pediatric heart centers in the country and feel we need to be closer to those services. In addition, with limited resources it has become increasingly apparent how challenging it is to have two separate spaces.
With great sadness and clarity, we realized we need to be closer to Everett’s and Forrest’s doctors in Milwaukee. Our plan is to put our building we live in and the current James May Gallery space on the market and keep the building James May North is in now. We will begin to transfer all programing to James May North and then change the name to James May Gallery. So, we will just be running one gallery again. The exhibitions planned for James May Gallery after this December will be transitioned to James May North- which will become James May Gallery. We will be contacting artists individually in the next few weeks. Our inventory of ceramics and jewelry will also move to James May North. A little confusing we know, but that’s why having just one space will make things easier.
Emotionally we are very connected to these spaces and wanted you all to know this news before it is made public and listed on the MLS.
We still will have a presence in Algoma and are trying to figure out how to maintain our intern/residence program. Our current thinking is we will live near Milwaukee, have shows up for a longer duration, keep an inter/resident and continue to grow the arts in Northeast Wisconsin. It also is our hopes we can begin to set up roots near Milwaukee and start something in that area.
Thank you all for your support in this as we move forward. And if you know of anyone that would like to buy a building- it will be on the market next week for 269,900 -includes the gallery, 2 apartments, and a pretty amazing living space. We hope that someone creative will take over the space and love it as much as we do. We are heartbroken about the health of our boys and having to give up our building we have poured everything into.
We ask for your patience through this transition and need your support more than ever. We remain deeply committed to the Arts community in Algoma and hope that the new James May Gallery will remain a fixture in the community.
Kendra, Jimmy, Everett, Forrest, & Java
P.S. Here is the listing. Please share.