Underwater images captured by Diane Morris of Delafield are among the works of art on display in a new gallery at Fluegge Optical in Waterford.

By Patricia Bogumil

Interim Editor

Like many people, Dale Fluegge may not formally know a whole lot about art. But he knows what he likes and he knows good art when he sees it.

Now Fluegge’s personal vision of what makes for interesting and unusual local art is on display in a changing art gallery that recently began sharing floor space with the frames and eye ware sold at Fluegge Optical, Waterford.

The idea for an art gallery was suggested by several local artists and customers, he said. They were intrigued by the natural light flowing in through the many large windows of his new building on East Main Street, Fluegge explained.

“I didn’t seek them out, they came to me,” he said.

And, like art, Fluegge quickly recognized a good idea when it came along.

Showcasing local artistic talent in this way is just the right thing for a business to do for the community, Fluegge said, plus it’s fun and interesting for his customers.

Everything on display is for sale, Fluegge said. Interested buyers can contact the artist directly, or Fluegge will help at no cost to either the buyer or seller.

“There’s no cost to me and no cost to them – it’s just the right thing to do,” he added.

Artists who are selected are welcome to showcase their works at the shop for about six weeks, Fluegge said.

Currently on display are paintings by Delavan artist Marcia Koehler.

She recalls first visiting Fluegge Optical not in search of rose-colored glasses – but in search of special red lens glasses used to evaluate the color values in her paintings.

Koehler’s original artwork uses media like oil, watercolor, pastels, acrylic and collage elements in untraditional ways. “It allows for surprises and the freedom of experimentation to create art intuitively,” she said.

Next up will be pieces by Jeff Williams of Russell, Ill., described as “a pin striper and sign painter with a spin on Vargas-style pin-ups and 1950s advertising sign painting.”

Additional artists that will soon be displayed include:

• Richard Arfsten, Burlington, a multi-media artist, with emphasis on “lost mass casting” of aluminum, with an interest in casting alien life forms;

• Roy Schmidt, Waterford, a retired teacher, with a 40-plus years love of photography. His pieces display technique and style far from mainstream; and

• Diane Morris, Delafield, an underwater enthusiast who dives mostly in Sumatra. “Her breathtaking examples of underwater life have to be seen to be believed!” Fluegge said.

Much of the art he selects to put on display will be “more non-traditional kind of art, more edgy, like outsider art,” Fluegge said.

People should feel free to stop in on a monthly basis, he added. “Not only to see who, but what, is new on display in our show room,” he added.

Fluegge Optical, (262) 534-6090, is open Monday through Saturday at 920 E. Main St., Waterford.