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Art Meets Music Meets Treasure Vault

Cocoon Room does it all in Riverwest

Dec. 23, 2013
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Coccon Room
Cocoon Room (820 E. Locust St.) is a Riverwest multipurpose creative space—art gallery and boutique, performance space (for comedians, musicians and poets), design space (jewelry, graphics, video, web) and gathering space (fashion shows, yoga, self-defense training). Off the Cuff sat down with cofounders Rachel Buth, Amanda Mills and Sheila Teruty to discuss art and power, water and beer, animals and machines.


The Cocoon Room’s space was previously the Foxglove Gallery and a tropical fish store. Any more animals?

Teruty: Dogs are certainly welcome.

Mills: Really, any creature—man or beast—is.


Cocoon Room has been described as “art space meets music venue meets vintage treasure vault”—more titles?

Teruty: Innovation Nation. Fashion Swaddle Pad.

Buth: Independent Counter-Culture Arts Hub meets Heavy Petting Zoo.

Mills: Shape Shifting Home for Swashbucklers.


But no liquor license? This is Milwaukee…aren’t they automatic, with the water/power hookups?

Mills: We believe in the law of BYOB.


Hand-crafted, hand-made, hand-selected art, fashion and jewelry. The ultimate Arts and Crafts movement dream. What do you have against Machines Producing Predictable Things Cheaply?

Buth: Too often, maximum production means little substance—at the expense of the environment and souls.

Teruty: Recycled fashion is really important. For the earth—and for individuals who want to stand out. Sustainability is key. 

Mills: What they said.


Mills went on the record: “Milwaukee’s arts and culture scene is still an awkward teenager.” Are you the prom?

Teruty: Maybe the limo to the prom, possibly the after-party, or both. But skip the prom. It’s the journey that counts. Also who you go home with. 


You’re open largely on weekends? (Thursday-Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 12-6 p.m.) Let me guess. Day jobs?

Buth: Graphic designer and photographer—for none other than the Shepherd Express.

Teruty: Freelance wardrobe stylist.

Mills: Cardiovascular Technologist, Froedtert Hospital.


You opened in March: highlights so far?

Buth: Fantastic people.

Mills: Yeah. Locals, travelers, bands, artists, models and creative types.  

Teruty: And since it’s Christmas, each other.


What are you looking forward to?

Teruty: Blossoming. I am ready to emerge. Also seeing the other girls spread their wings, too.

Buth: Cultivating and sharing our vision. Collaborating with local talent. Working on my line of sustainable fashion (Redish).

Mills: Cocoon Room has been a wild ride. Sometimes I’ve been held hostage to this crazed flying carpet—but I’ve also done things I never thought I would. Bigger and better is next. Fill the space and create. Showcase things folks have never seen before. I think we all want to blow people’s minds.


To connect with Cocoon Room, visit facebook.com/cocoonroommke.


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