Door County may seem like the end of the world on the map, but coming to Door County has been a family tradition in the Linden family since Brian was a young boy. Summers spent camping, swimming at Newport State Park, and watching the sunset in Ephraim were strong memories when Brian brought Jeanee to Door County for a vacation in 1988. Years later in 1995, while living in Taiwan, a chance visit to Door County brought the Ellison Bay church to their attention. With a strong vision of what the building could be and knowing that they wanted to move back to the US to have their first child, the Lindens naively put an offer on the church and it was accepted. That seemingly simple act started a new course for their lives.
The former church, built in 1955, is a product of innovative architecture that was created in only a handful of other churches in the U.S. The curved ceiling and arches, resembles the interior of a beautifully handcrafted ship.
The business of moving objects from another country is never easy! All of the items that arrive in the gallery are personally sourced by the Lindens. Everything has to be consolidated to one city and packed, inspected at customs and loaded onto a container ship. The containers come in 20 or 40 cubic meter sizes which one can compare to ½-1 freight train compartment. They are loaded onto big shipping vessels and typically find their first point of entry on the west coast near Los Angeles. From there they are unloaded, put on the “rails” and brought over to Chicago and off loaded. After final customs clearance, the container is once again packed into a semi-truck and brought up to the gallery. After much anticipation, the semi-truck driver arrives and he ceremoniously takes a bolt cutter and unlocks our container. Getting it off of the truck requires a lot of muscle, sweat and emotion. Our container has arrived! It’s amazing every time, very much like opening a much-anticipated Christmas present!
Yes! By all means, please do! Our Asian-Western rock garden was conceived and built by Brian over several summers. The section facing Highway 42 was originally a grassy lawn and a driveway to the entrance of the church. The current garden has pagoda dogwood and birch trees, a mix of perennials and a bright red wooden Japanese style bridge that spans the rock-river bed. Many people may not be aware that the Mink River actually runs under the gallery’s basement floors before it flows to the bay.
The pagoda structure on the side of the building has a wooden gong brought from a temple in Laos. The painting of birch trees on the exterior doors is by artist Susan Anderson. Her large painting of the bonsai tree on the back wall of the gallery was meant to represent the blending of our western and eastern cultures.
The most common garden answer we give each summer is: The pale pink feather-like plant that blooms at our front doors is called a "Fern Tamarisk."
Our gallery is open for the season during the second week in May and closes right after the Ellison Bay Art Crawl on the last weekend in October. Each year our opening day is different, so if you are coming during this time, please give us a call to check the hours. Once the season kicks in from June-Labor Day, we are open daily from 10-5. We are open on all holidays during the season and will only close for an emergency. We are proud to say that 2016 is our 20th year doing business in Door County!