A new Fond du Lac photo gallery is expanding downtown’s art district. Here’s what to know about The Gallery.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to start accepting JCB credit cards from Japan


FOND DU LAC – Fond du Lac’s art world is continuing to expand this summer.

The Gallery, 74 S. Main St. Suite 302, will mark its grand opening June 16 with nature photography exhibit “Yellowstone,” captured by owners T.J. and Crystal Schoenborn.

Perched above Hang 10 Poke, Lunar & Lake Book Market and other businesses, The Gallery will provide a space to not only display the Schoenborn’s work, but showcase local artists and host private or community gatherings.

While T.J. Schoenborn grew up taking photos with film cameras, the Schoenborns started photography after their son took an interest in a digital camera he’d gotten from his grandpa, and it turned into something the two of them could do together.

“T.J.’s always had a very creative personality, creative mind, so photography naturally is very creative,” Crystal Schoenborn said. “I’m a little more structured, not as creative, but he started getting into nature photography, and I love nature and being outside.”

Before starting nature photography, and before the pandemic, they shot street photography in large cities like Chicago and New York, but during the pandemic, they took a trip west to Yellowstone and started photographing landscapes and wildlife.

“That’s really when it started to snowball for us,” T.J. Schoenborn said. “We took it seriously then.”

More: Subscribe to the Fond du Lac Streetwise newsletter

Now, they live in Montana part time and have a slate of photos of grizzly bears, elk, eagles, mountains and more to display in Fond du Lac.

One of the biggest questions they get from their work is how close they are to the wildlife they photograph, and while digital photography has its tricks for a good shot, T.J. Schoenborn said he’s gotten mere feet away from moose before.

To get many of their photos, especially of the more dangerous animals, they spend hours sitting 100 to 150 yards away until the animal is used to their presence and won’t feel threatened when they do finally inch closer.

Best burger: Where’s the best place to get a burger in Fond du Lac? Here are the 11 best according to readers.

Crystal Schoenborn added that a lot of times an animal will approach them first as they wait, and once a grizzly bear came out of the woods just 10 feet away from where they’d been sitting.

“That was probably the most frightened I’d ever been, and the most exhilarated,” T.J. Schoenborn said. “It was just a combination of all these (feelings).”

The Gallery itself started to come together while they were still in Montana, using FaceTime with one of their employees to look at spaces, and the potential of the space they chose — including the view of downtown from the third floor — prompted them to make an offer on the spot.

They wanted a space for their photos, but also one that allows them to work with other photographers, businesses and artists to showcase their works for a week and sell it, or even just get it out there.

“Sometimes it’s not even about selling it, but about people seeing your work and saying ‘Hey, that’s really cool,'” T.J. Schoenborn said.

The Gallery is also working with Gallery & Frame Shop, Indigo Gallery, Trista Holz Studios and Argentum et Aurum to form a small art district within downtown.

The space can also be used for events like baby or bridal showers, wedding gift openings and more, and the Schoenborns want to implement community gatherings like board game nights.

Additionally, it houses the other side of the Schoenborn’s business, The Studio, whose services include senior portraits, engagement photography, boudoir photography and, starting next year, Crystal Schoenborn’s newborn photography.

Their goal with The Studio is to make their photography services affordable and accessible, because while the cost of a photoshoot is fair to the amount of work and hours photographers put into them, many families can’t afford to get quality pictures done.

The Schoenborns own other businesses in Fond du Lac, including LuZa CBD Wellness Center and Victoria’s Pet Nutrition, so they’re not in this business to get rich, T.J. Schoenborn said.

“We want to be able to impact people’s lives in certain ways, whether it’s having an event up here or taking their picture or whatever it might be,” he said.

The Gallery’s June 16 opening aligns with the Downtown Fond du Lac Summer Wine Walk, but all are welcome whether they are participating in the walk or not.

The doors will open at 3 p.m. on the first day, and The Gallery will also be open 3-8 p.m. that Saturday. After that, hours will vary, but the business will soon have a website set up that includes a calendar.

For more information and updates, visit The Gallery’s Facebook page.

Read more:

Contact Daphne Lemke at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @daphlemke.

This article originally appeared on Fond du Lac Reporter: Fond du Lac photo gallery on S. Main St. expands downtown art district