Remembering Holland Haus Gallery Night

While we don’t miss the snow and cold, we are missing our homeland of Wisconsin lately. Mostly the people with whom we developed close community.

We moved to Green Bay, WI fall of 2006 and lived there until 2011. We picked a lovely old Victorian home in Astor Park, the historical district of this sports crazy town. It was an awesome neighborhood to live in, as the neighbors were quite happy to participate in community, sharing resources, shoveling each others path, advice about gardening and sharing an occasional meal.

Holland HouseThe Hollands Haus was the perfect place for us share our gift of hospitality and creativity. The old Victorian had two levels and the downstairs held 5 separate spaces, including the  country kitchen. We held all sorts of gatherings in our home from musical jams, dinner parties, Settlers of Caatan nights, house concerts, spiritual gatherings, and our beloved Holland Haus Gallery Night.

Winters are long in Green Bay, WI, lasting sometimes until May and once football season is done, most folks start to go stir crazy. So it made since that Gallery Night was always in February, for one saturday night only, we would host 12-15 visual artists and a handful of singer/songwriters in our home. We would strip all of our artwork off of the walls throughout the whole downstairs and move most of the furniture to the back attic room. Each artist would drop off 3-7 pieces the night before the event and Craig and I would put the puzzle together. We’d arrange the pieces to not only to complement each other but also, thinking about the artist in each room and how they might interact with one another. Our hope was to build community, and so it was most important to us that the artists that participated or came, had an opportunity to continue relationship if they wanted.

The hanging process really suited us, with Craig being more on the logical side and me being ascetically sensitive, we complement each other well. The next morning, Craig and the kids would clean the house and set up the sound system for the musicians. Meanwhile, I along with a few girlfriends, would make food creations. Cheesecake was the highlight of the night (as the Galley night also doubled as my birthday) The house would buzz with energy and excitement as we waited for the guests to arrive at 7pm. They were always on time!

The first year we budgeted the event into our giving fund, paying for all of the food and wine but with 65 guests, it was to expensive continue. And, so our second year we asked for a $5 suggested donation. It was our lowest attended year, at 42. So our third and fourth years, we decided to ask guests to bring a bottle of wine/beer or a hunk of gourmet cheese. You have to specify the cheese in Wisconsin or you might end up with five pounds of cheese curds. None the less, that seemed to be the ticket, as the next two gallery nights would each host over 150 guests. All up, we hosted four in five years, taking a break after the third year, with our final year being the most epic.  

Natalie Vann ArtHow did we meet the artists you ask? Well, it started with one, Natalie Vann. I met Natalie on Myspace of all places. That was back when you could search zip codes and add criteria and then folks that fit that description came up. It was six months before we moved to Green Bay, and I was looking for friends, specially friends in the arts. Natalie was kind and welcomed me to Green Bay before I arrived. She introduced me to a few other artists as well. At the same time, we were apart of a spiritual small group and a few in our group were artist. Through conversations at those gatherings the idea to create an opportunity for artists both established and up and coming to show their work in a non-threating environment with no fees was birthed. The added bonus was inviting artists from all walks of like to commune, share resources and bring their extended communities together.

There is really nothing more exciting than seeing different world views, ideologies, income levels, ethnicities and creative styles come together in unity. That was what Gallery Night was for us. We were just the bridge. Our hope is that folks in the Green Bay area are continuing to see the value in creating and connecting with each other. I hope that we inspired those we met to be more hospitable. To reach out to those who are “visitors” and bring them into the fold.

We are grateful for our time there and although the bus offers a whole new way of community and connecting we will always remember Gallery Nights with such fondness. And, when we are feeling alone and uninspired we just look upon our walls, at the few pieces of work that we were gifted or purchased by some of our favorite Gallery Night artists and we remember.


From Here To There, Northwest

We’re absolutely amazed by the weaving together of the saints. We continue to find refuge as we make our way down the west coast. Our first stop was Seattle, WA, where we stayed with the brave Susie and Brian. I say brave, because they had the guts to allow us to park right out in the middle of their cul du sac and it was a perfect fit. Susie is the mother of our dear friend, Katie and she had that hip grandmotherly hospitality that made us feel welcomed and loved.

Once in the Seattle area, we connected with Clint McCune, a fantastic musician and the owner of Soulfood Books for a performance. Clint performs the first friday of every month and invites a guest artist to join him. We  were totally humbled by Clint, the staffs and listeners openness and encouragement. It was a delight to be in community with them all. We also found a listening ear regarding the opportunity to link up with Kabum Coffee International and Hope Africa Child Development Program.

On a side note, we were able to reconnect with the Sergotts, from Green Bay. They are in the process of moving to Seattle and Banjo was able to enjoy some time with his friend Eli. Serendipity! It was one more reminder that we are not in this alone.

The next day we had some family time at the breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls.

Later in the day we visited the Northwest Railway Museum. There was something  sensational about those old cars. The history rich and the memories are laced into the decrepit metal frames.


A quick stop at the local thrift store and we were on to our show at the Black Dog. This local venue is home to all of the creative types in Snoqualmie. It’s warm and straight up good vibes.

2/5/12 Sunday morning we hit a little hick up when the pin in our trailer went out. Quick stop to the auto parts store and we were on our way to La Center, WA to stay with a couple referred by another couple referred by another couple who own the Green Plow. It’s the small world and we are so thankful for open minded folks like the Marianu’s.

Monday night we played a little community show in Portland with our dear friends Destroy Nate Allen and Tues. night our gracious hosts had a few folks over for “dinner and a song.”

Today is a day of rest, school and general catching up. On Friday we head to Zigzag to play at one of our favorite Global~Local joints, The Skyway Bar and Grill and then on Sat. we will be in Lake Oswego, OR for a full family performance at the River Ridge House Concert Series. If you live in these parts come have a sing with us before we head south.


The Hollands!

Industry Standard

We’ve been on the Northwest Coast for about two weeks. Our first destination was Eugene, OR for the Far-West Folk Alliance Conference. A trade show of sorts for those involved in the Folk music scene. The city is beautiful and quite user-friendly. It’s a smaller city about the size of our recent home, Green Bay.

I am always looking for the greater meaning in life and although we were in Eugene for the “conference” the underlying purpose was an awaking to a compulsive need we all have to be in control, “make it” and to be desired.

As I made my way through our daily workshops and showcases I found that there were moments that I would have to go outside of the 3 block radius to find a grocery or office store. Those trips provided a window into the reality of a town that is broken by the economy and struggling. I saw several young (30-40’s) folks holding signs on corners, stating their desire to work or a felt need. They were my age, wearing decent clothing and standing on a corner doing whatever it takes  to care for their families. It invoked a deep discomfort in me as I found myself staring but not exactly knowing how to help. Paralyzed, that’s how I felt for I could see myself in these folks eyes.

After returning to the conference, I started to noticed the desperation was similar, only we weren’t holding signs, rather name tags and business cards; hoping someone would take notice and see the value in having us perform at their venue.

The irony was glaring. I sat through a delightful and encouraging speech by a fellow folky about our purpose as musicians and the impact we can have to change the world and then in the next breath found myself in a business meeting trying to understand the ugly and confusing world of Performance Rights Organizations and “why” we as artist need to join these cronies and ban together to protect our interests. One conversation was driven by an open desire to serve and care for others and the other, fear based and self protective.

Having purposely stripped away to nearly nothing. (well, I can’t say nothing, we do own a bus and a car and are renting our home out) but in essence we are down to nearly nothing, I find this paradox even greater. If I look up and to far ahead I panic and find I’m lost in a place that is unfamiliar, a place of fear and self-protection. The vision to love others with a servant’s heart and ideals to live simply and sustainably are the only things that make any sense and so I focus on them.

We take what we do musically quite seriously and want to understand the “world” we are swimming through and with. However, there is a certain resistance we have as DIY artists and rightly so. This fear driven, self-protection will be the demise of us. We are reminded once again to stay open and be available. To be in the world but not of it.

Maiden Voyage

2 Weeks. A picture blog of the journey leading up to our maiden voyage. On Oct 13, we started up the engine and are Oregon bound. Much to still do but we have been sent off with love and support beyond our wildest dreams!

Paul, our neighbor, engineered our tow hitch/bar
Filling in all the rivets
Our neighbor, Jim, came by every day for two weeks straight to help get the furniture finished. Without Jim’s commitment to this project we would not have made it.
5 days before departure
Grace getting her feet wet
Last supper at the Holland House.
Getting the cushions ready
One down a few more to go.
Papa showing off his muscles.
Late night. 2 days and counting.
Staple queen and her court
cleaning team, one day and counting
Load up! One day before departure.
Final push!
Beautiful design by David Baumgartner. Crafted by Jim, Craig and Banjo
Welcome Home!
Farewell show hosted by Kavarna.
saying goodbye
Friendship true blue
Little fella’s!
Words can not express the blessing these girls have been through out this process! We love them!!
Saying goodbye to family
One last check
Packed and ready to roll! 10/13/11
One more final check
Jim is an example of true neighborly love. He inspired and kept us going.
Here we go!
Priceless moment
Back in the Saddle again
For the Lord our God is living among us. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in us with gladness. With his love, he will calm all our fears. He will rejoice over us with joyful songs. Zep. 3:17

Out of the Box in Green Bay

In a town dominated by chain food, out of the box ideas really have to stand out and one of our favorite stops in Green Bay, WI is Kavarna Coffeehouse adjoined by Parisi’s Delicatessen.

There are so many things I love about these two restaurants, starting first with the owners, Alex and Linda Galt. They are two of the most exquisite folks you’ll ever meet. They are focused and care very much about their trade and what they have to offer the general public. You sense this attitude of food knowledge and warmth when you enter their two adjoining restaurants, Kavarna and Parisi’s Deli.

We have a long history of frequenting this venue and have watched it go through many changes. All for the better! Although, if they hadn’t changed they still would have been exactly what we craved. Besides the immediate feeling of welcome by the staff and owners, the decor is creative and clever recycling. Eye candy everywhere. From the sand blasted brick walls and exposed ceiling, especially delightful for Craig as he is a builder and love to see the under work, to the windows on the front of the building. And if earth tones aren’t your thing you cross over to the Parisi’s side and experience the calming creams and and light pastels. The clean lines and softness of these colors makes me feel like I’m sitting beachside in the French Riviera in the 1930’s, so I tend to sit on this side even when I order from the Kavarna side.

Kavarna: The food is delightful! It was the Black Bean Burger that one me over on my first visit some 10 years ago. I think Andy Gordon made my first one and to this day if he’s in the kitchen I’m confident that all will be well with my dining experience. Since then I’ve enjoyed the Cheesy Artichoke, the Black Bean Quesodilla. And, the Sweet Potato Fries are out of this world.

Parisi’s: I’ve lived in Wisconsin for nearly half of my life so cheese has become a mainstay in my diet. I tend to shy away from the highly processed cheese curds and orange cheddar’s but a sharp white or a soft goat cheese or brie and I’m in cheese heaven. So, When Alex and Linda decided to bring in Parisi’s Delicatessen I couldn’t have been more excited. It is a full service delicatessen specializing in artisanal meats and cheeses, particularly from Wisconsin. My favorite so far is the “New Deal” incorporating the most beautiful spreadable cheese from Belgioioso, Prosciutto di Parma and argula on a baguette. Pure yumminess!

Whether you choose the Kavarna side or Parisi’s side or a little of both, they will run you about the same price. For a sandwich (side of chips or grapes) and Rosewater Lemonade, my beverage of choice, the bill usually ends up about $12-15. So, this tends to be a place that I meet friends out at or a lunch date with Craig. On the rare occasion that the whole family goes we usually share a couple of sandwiches and soup for a final bill of $40 or we can spend half of that if we stop in for dessert and coffee, both of which are top notch.

Another side note, sometimes Alex hosts music and over the past 5 years we have played a handful of times. He also hosts “talks” and they are actively involved in the Broadway Farmers Market. I love their sense of community and openness to bring real food to Green Bay. There would be a huge void without them. That is the truth.


The Holland House

The Holland House has been a place of refuge and community over the past 6 years. We have hosted countless dinner parties, 3 fantastic gallery nights featuring 25 amazing local artists and 12 awesome musicians. We have had 22 bands stay in our home and three students. Craig has created a solace in our side yard crafting a cottage garden style patio and our interior has been well maintained. This house is a house full of laughter, joy, peace and love.

Our neighborhood is one of the most friendly and warm places we’ve ever lived. Astor Park is a unique and lovely place to live. The community is organized and hosts fun family and adult events through out the year. In fact, the Astor Park wine night was where we meet most of our neighborhood friends. The park is two blocks from our home, offering tennis and other fun programs in the summer. There are a number of great public and private schools within walking distance, including our children’s school, St. Matthews (a wonderful choice).

We are sad to leave it but happy to share it with a new owner.

Our desire is to be mobile and available to communities around the globe and selling our home is the this the key to the future.

So without further ado, Here it is. If you are interested contact Jana at or call 920.883.6874

  • Price: $147,500
  • BR/BA: 5 BR, 2 BA
  • Location: Green Bay, WI
  • Description:
  • Two family home, great second income or easily converted to single family home.
  • Area: City of Green Bay
  • 4/5 Bedroom(s)
  • 2 Total full Bath(s)
  • Approximately 1962 sq. ft
  • Two Story
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Heating/Cooling features: Gas, Central Air
  • Interior Features: Basement, Carpet, Formal dining rm, Range and oven, 2 Refrigerators, Hard wood floors, Central Air, Air Purifier,
  • External Features: Front porch, Side patio/gardens, Public sewer srvc, Public water supply, Wooded lot.
  • School District: Green Bay/Brown Cty
  • Taxes: 2330.00
  • Property Type: Homes
  • Sq feet: 1,962 sq. ft.
  • Amenities: New AC/Water Heater, Parking, Patio/Deck, Refrigerator, Stove, Washer, Dryer, Hard Wood Floors

It only takes a spark, so please pass it on…
The Hollands!

On Hospitality and Citizenship

I’ve had random thoughts racing through my mind all day. They’re all seemingly important but not necessarily connected. So, I chalk it up to cabin fever.

First thought: I have moved over 19 times in my life. I have lived on three continents and in 5 US states. I have been the visitor and the local.  Through all of these moves I have come to understand this; being hospitable is crucial. I’m not convinced that folks understand the impact they have on others and the life-giving ability they have to make someone feel at “home.” To bring someone into the fold, to treat one like kinsfolk. That is the calling for us all. Not just the few Martha Stewards out there (bless their hearts)…

Second thought: Craig is going to the consulate office tomorrow to take his big test to become an American Citizen.  Australia and the US have an agreement allowing him dual citizenship.

What does it all mean? Well, first and foremost, he’ll be able to vote. When I met Craig 12 years ago, he was in politically based punk band. Typical of most punk rockers,  he was pretty opinionated about the powers that be and the way the poor and downtrodden are oppressed. However, living as an alien (legally but still an outsider) pulls a bit of voice out of one and for the past 10 years or so he has been observant but relatively silent on most issues. As we near his citizenship I have noticed his voice getting louder and I wonder… if  becoming a citizen makes a difference in one’s credibility or feeling of credibility?

Third thought: The house is getting in order for our grand gallery night event coming up this weekend. It was started purely as a way to make friends and build community with like-minded creative folk. And to support the arts, which we love dearly.  In a sports town that over shadows the arts this event has been a diamond in the rough for us. We are looking forward to hosting our 4th and possibly final gallery night.  How it works: We invite about 15 local fine artists to show 3-5 pieces.  We live in an old Victorian house in Historic Astor Park. We take all of our decor down in the 4 lower main rooms and use them as the gallery walls. The kitchen is used for a delicious spread of desserts, wine and cheese. We also invite many of our musically inclined friends to perform throughout the night.

As we prepare to move on this fall, our hope is that folks in this area will continue to see the value in creating and connecting with each other. I hope that we inspired those we met to be more hospitable. To reach out to those who are “visitors” and bring them into the fold.


Paint, FSBO and The Green Bay Packers

So today we sat down and came up with a list of things to finish on the house before we can put it on the market. Researched the market values in our neighborhood and starting to explore FSBO. We made a run to Home Depot to purchase the tall items on the order; paint, caulk, drywall and mud. Then ran a few more errands and a quick meal at our favorite mexican restaurant, El Sarape.

There were cars everywhere! People everywhere. Like the day before Christmas. Then I remembered, I live in Green Bay, WI right now and tomorrow the Green Bay Packers play in the super bowl! The buzz was everywhere, people were tense, excited and in a hurry. Green and Gold everywhere. In a town of 200 or so thousand, this is a BIG deal! I’m not really a football fan and Craig’s team is out but I do hope those fella’s win. I really do.

On to maintenance and lists. Well, maybe starting Monday.