Main Street Loft Tour

Madison Main Street to show off second floor spaces in the downtown

The six properties on the Loft Tour feature
various decor, art

(October 2019) – On any day of the week, visitors and residents of Madison, Ind., are often surprised to see a man walking through town with a parrot on his shoulder. Artist Dallas Gambill rescued “Corky,” his parrot friend, years ago from a difficult home, and they’ve been traveling the continent since.

Photo by Konnie McCollum

Dallas Gambill poses inside his Main Street art gallery, where he will be among the hosts of the Madison Main Street Program’s Loft Tour on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Madison, Ind.

Gambill, 69, along with Corky and Lilly, his beloved dog, decided to make their permanent home in Madison a few years ago. He relocated his art gallery to 317 W. Main St., and it will be featured in this year’s annual Madison Main Street Loft Tour, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.
Tickets are $15 and will be available up to the day of the tour. This unusual tour, sponsored by Brenda Eversole at Century 21 River Valley Real Estate, features historic properties with second floors that have been rehabilitated in creative ways.
Gambill’s gallery, one of the six unique properties on the tour, features a variety of paintings, pictures and architectural peculiarities visitors will find charming. “My studio is an eclectic bohemian blend,” the artist said.
Gambill’s paintings are acrylic, but he uses a 17th-century oil glazing technique with them. “I like to describe my work as romanticized landscapes because of their softness.”
He draws his inspiration from places he has traveled to and from mental images he often can picture. “As my life became more hectic and somewhat stressful, my artwork became more peaceful,” he said. “I’ll see something in my mind, and then I actually ask the canvas to show me what it wants.”
His paintings aren’t the only artwork Gambill is known for around the world, however. He worked for decades in the construction business doing interior design. His faux marble finishes on columns, walls and other surfaces can be seen throughout places such as Mexico City and Beverly Hills, Calif. He has even done work for Hollywood stars, including Gregory Peck, best known for his role in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Photo by Konnie McCollum

Dallas Gambill’s art studio features many paintings that will be available for viewing during the Loft Tour.

“I started life as a farm kid from Kentucky, and I’ve traveled the world. But Madison is the best place for me,” he said.
Madison Main Street Program Executive Director Camden Bentley said Gambill’s studio is just one of the interesting features of the tour. “This is a rare chance to see things in these buildings that are not available 364 days of the year,” he said. “We expect about 400 people to participate.”
Bentley, who just recently took over the helm of Madison Main Street Program, said some of the sites on the tour are not handicapped accessible, so participants will need to consider this when planning their routes. Although the tour is self-guided, there will be volunteers at each site to answer questions. There will also be a hospitality site located at GH Coffee, 329 W. Main St., where people can go for refreshments and breaks.
The other sites featured on the tour include Jane Vonderheide’s House of Jane, 207 E. Main St. House of Jane features a barbershop, an art studio featuring local artists, a listening room for musicians and much more. Her upstairs living quarters feature a view of Main Street not many have seen.
Valecia and Larry Crisafulli’s building at 420 West St. is the iconic Elks Building, nearly destroyed by a fire in august 2006. Tour goers will get to see two of the seven apartments created from the rehabilitated building, along with the original entry staircase and wrought iron railings that were left mostly undamaged by the fire.
At Kelly Misamore’s Cultivate Nature, 108 E. Main St., visitors will climb the 24 steps to a find a historical montage of the buildings history. Those steps have been the same ones used by the owners and residents of the building since the 1820s.
Laurel Wahl’s Airbnb at 320 Mulberry St. used to be a barbershop, a bar and even an optometrist’s practice. While there is a restaurant down below, the upstairs has become a location for travelers coming to the city. With more than 20 Airbnb lodgings in Madison, Laurel’s features some interesting woodwork and parlor doors.
Tonya Schmidt’s Mane Attractions at 116 W. Main St. is also one of the tour highlights. The main floor of the building houses Tonya’s nail and hair salon, and the second floor features a spa. The crowning jewel, however, is the open-spaced loft apartment that was modernized yet historically preserved at the same time.

• For more information about Madison Main Street Program’s Loft Tour, visit www.madisonmainstreet.com.

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