To make a long story short, we didn’t intend to open a gallery.
We set out to buy a very special building, one we had admired for a long time. (And to be honest, we’d owned it in our imaginations for a number of years.) George Nelson, world famous mid-century architect, designed this retail building for Liebermann's in 1965. Located in downtown Lansing, one block from the State Capitol, it is one of the last remaining Nelson buildings in the world.
We bought the building with the intention of housing Jen’s brand consultancy, Redhead. The catch is, this space was intended to be retail. Everything about it was designed to showcase beautiful objects. There’s no way you’re turning this storefront into an office space and feeling good about it. When you visit, you’ll see. Shelves shelves shelves, that’s all we’re gonna say about that.
Shelves are a good place for beautiful objects. And thus, Nelson was born.
Nelson is a space to showcase art and design, and make beautiful pieces available for those who love such things. Nelson pays homage in a number of ways to our predecessors, the Price family, who developed this space for Liebermann’s back in the day.
Hello. We’re Jen and John Estill. Jen owns the aforementioned Redhead. No worries, Redhead still gets a space in this lovely building — upstairs. Red is Nelson’s big sister, so to speak. She takes care of the place. Jen is also co-host of The Speak Easy Podcast.
John is an engineer-turned-nerd. He works for the State of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget, his office is right around the corner from Nelson. He has never met a problem he couldn’t fix, and after years of weekdays in Downtown, has definite thoughts about what the neighborhood needs. (Such as more well-loved retail spaces.) John is also a member of the Lansing Parks Foundation, advocating for green spaces in our city.
The thing we are not? Art experts. Lucky for us, we have talented friends.
Meet Barbara Hranilovich and Deb Cholewicki.
Barb is an omnipresent artist who works in a variety of mediums. Her work in commercial art is how she and Jen met, decades ago. As a fine artist she works in acrylics, oils, ceramics, encaustics and printmaking. Her many exhibits have allowed her to explore themes of psychology, ecology, and current events.
Deb is a master of nature. Her work is a reflection of her life and passion for sculptural forms, exploring natural found objects, fiber, and copper. Her exhibits highlight the beauty of nature - its bold and rich colors, its movement, its mystery, and its power to transform and heal.
Together, they form a wondertwins-esque team, curating Nelson’s inaugural presentation and lending their talents to our overarching goal of bringing art and life to our environment.
This place would not run without the cleverness and support of the Redheads. When you visit Nelson, you’re most likely to meet Bobby, who is our metaphorical Mary Poppins; or Denise, who is our metaphorical Olivia Pope. And the creative brains of Red are generally just upstairs, should you be curious.