Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

This week’s featured business is D Anthony, a new gallery, studio and frame shop being unveiled soon in downtown Wausau by Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art Founder and Executive Director David Hummer. Located at 416 Third St., D Anthony will open in the coming weeks at the former site of Ginny’s Antiques, which closed after many years in business. This is the latest venture for Hummer, an internationally known artist who first established a framing service in Wausau more than a decade ago and has decades of experience. That business, The Bauhaus, soon evolved into a painting studio where Hummer taught his craft to eager students from all walks of life, most of whom had no art or painting background whatsoever and loved it. Hummer said anyone can learn to paint: “No talent required – just a willingness to learn something new.” As the years went on and the number of students increased, Hummer got to thinking: If there’s so much interest in art in Wausau, what would happen if he brought other artists here as well? This was the catalyst for the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, which features exhibits and juried art competitions that draw some of the most celebrated figurative painters and sculptors from across the country and the world. Together with his wife, Becky Hummer, David envisions a space that will inspire a new generation of art enthusiasts, highlighting artists from around the world in a wide range of styles while offering framing services and painting workshops for students. He’ll teach some workshops himself, but he also envisions hosting guest instructors from around the world to share their craft and style. Here, David shares his background, his biggest influences and his thoughts on why Wausau is the perfect place for art not just to survive, but thrive.

Q: When was your business established, and what prompted you to start?

A: The Bauhaus, LLC was established shortly after moving to Wausau in 2008. Then, it was a picture framing service. Picture framing has always been a steady source of income for me over the last 35-pluus years when I opened my first gallery with a framing service back in 1986 in Milwaukee. I became fairly well known for my framing ideas and quality working with residents up and down the north shore of Lake Michigan. As a self-represented artist starting out I needed to make money until my paintings and drawings took off. Once I began relying more and more in the sales of my artwork I weaned away from framing. Another interesting event occurred after moving here, too. I was asked to teach painting by someone who I now consider my big sister, and we still paint together. That was the first transformation of The Bauhaus. Once word got out I was teaching things kind of exploded. I had to get a bigger studio to accommodate all the people wanting to learn. That’s when I moved into the retail space on Washington Street. The business kept growing without any advertising; just word of mouth.When I founded the museum a few years later, (another byproduct of my teaching and a much longer story), I moved the painting studio into a small side room in the building and cut back on the number of classes I offer. It was really cutting into my own painting time. Once I open D Anthony, I’ll not only continue with teaching painting but also inviting other artists from around the world to come to Wausau to teach their respective processes. There will also be life drawing classes with live models in an ongoing weekly/biweekly basis. Now that Cheryl’s Framing no longer exists downtown, I felt it was the perfect time to go public with my service so people have an alternative to the big box store services.

In addition to being a picture framing service, it’ll also be a beautiful art gallery with my main focus of representing international female painters and sculptors of all styles from realism to abstract.

Q: Does the name of the business have any specific meaning you’re trying to convey?

A: D Anthony just seemed right to me. It’s my first initial and middle name. At the museum I’m referred to as the Executive Director, David Hummer. As a painter I’ve always used my full name, David Anthony Hummer. I wanted to reinvent myself and separate this entity from my other parallel lives but still use my name.

Q: What is it about Wausau that makes this community a good fit for your mission? You once lived in Milwaukee. Why not a big city, for example?

A: Why not Wausau? I love this city and the people in it. I’ve developed great friendships and built an art community of painters that understand “art-speak.” That’s important to me. I’m always looking at other cities to replicate this, but Wausau’s a good start. I think what I have to offer, my community needs. I also believe it’s viable. I spent a lot of the summer looking into gallery spaces in the Walker’s Point area of Milwaukee. After much pavement pounding – and finally finding a couple of spaces that I felt might work well for my purposes – I had to start weighing out the pros and cons of splitting my time between here and there. I came to the conclusion that I’ll start this here, and see how it goes, before expanding into a bigger city market. Dubuque, Iowa is also on my radar.

Q: Who are some of your biggest influences – or,  the heroes who inspire you?

A: This question is difficult for me to answer because I have so many due to the nature of who I am, as a husband and father, a museum director, a gallery owner, picture framer, and finally, an artist. I learned a great deal from a gallery owner in Milwaukee back in my early 20s when I opened my first gallery and frame shop. She was my mentor, Gloria D. Erlein. Another big influence in the arena of gallery owners is Frank Bernarducci. Frank has been a very respected name in the business for decades in New York. I have followed his career and subsequently invited him to be the juror for one of the competitions at the museum a few years ago. We still keep in touch and I’d love for him to return to work together again. My wife is my hero, though. I really don’t know how she does what she does. And she does it all with such love, compassion, and grace. I’ve always wanted to be more like her.

As a painter, my biggest influences to date are two women. One I have never met, and the other I’ve had the humbling opportunity to work with. Jenny Saville is a painter in England that mesmerizes me. She’s a painter’s painter. I love her without ever having met her. The other is Alyssa Monks, a very prominent figure in the New York painting scene. She’s one of the most incredible human beings I’ve ever met. Then there’s her painting…shut the front door…her work is fearless and at the same time tranquil. She’s been here in Wausau to teach as well as jury the first show when I opened the museum in 2017. That was also the year she was nominated as one of the top 30 most influential painters of our lifetime. I’m so proud and grateful she’s my friend. She’s a true inspiration.

Q: What do you want people to feel when they walk through the door?

A: I suppose like in any gallery, I want people to feel comfortable, yet transported. I’d like it to become a place where people feel they can frequent and visit, share a story, and maybe even learn something.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome, and how did you do it?

A: My biggest challenge is kind of in the same boat as who are my influences. I’ll make it short. As a painter you need to rid yourself of fear. I’m getting there and it’s crossed over into my person outside of painting. That’s one of the beautiful things about painting…it changes you, and always for the better. 

Q: What has been your biggest triumph?

A: My biggest triumph to date is having learned how to live in the present. Our three puppies reinforce that for me every day.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about your business, or what you do?

A: I think I’d like people to know that you don’t have to know anything about art or even be able to do anything you’re satisfied with in order to learn about it and enjoy it. In teaching now for about a decade I’ve found that my students, if they stick with it, learn to not be so hard on themselves. We are all exactly where we’re suppose to be.

Q: Where do you see yourself or your business five years from now? In other words, what are your dreams for the future?

A: Still happy no matter what. Maybe fish a little more than the last few years.

Connect with D Anthony

  • Location: 416 Third St., Wausau (former Ginny’s Antiques space)
  • Phone: 715-571-6551
  • Watch Facebook and Instagram for business page launches and the future website at danthonygallery.com.
  • Hours to be announced.