By Karin Wolf

FROM ANCIENT ROME TO MAIN STREET USA, families have lived above their shops and businesses, supporting their local economies while also creating far more sustainable models of human existence. However, the last half-century has all but eliminated the downstairs commute to work.

In 2014, in a page right out of the handbook of urban planning for the new economy, Margaret LeMay and her husband moved out of their beautiful historic home in Evansville, Wis., and purchased a 1920s mixed commercial-residential property on Atwood Avenue in Madison, “They moved into the second-floor fiat, and opened Marzen (Polish for “of dreams,”) a fine art gallery on the first floor.

LeMay, equally visionary and pragmatic, also made a first-floor office for Integrated Art Group (IAG), her successful consulting business. She launched IAG in 2008 after 12 years as art director for Marshall Erdman, a healthcare design and construction firm, to curate and install art for large corporate clients. Its success ensures the gallery survives the ups and downs of the market. And that this creative space will continue to provide Madison artists with a much needed venue to exhibit their work, and demonstrate the impact of the arts in Madison’s growing economy.


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