Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts invites the public to book an upcoming stay at Wisconsin’s newest boutique guest space — Roland’s Loft at The Sardeson of Shake Rag Alley. Charmingly decorated to honor the creative spirit of its previous owner, Roland’s Loft is Shake Rag Alley’s fifth guest space. The room rate of $129 a night benefits the nonprofit’s arts and crafts educational programming and historic preservation.
Located at 223 Commerce St. in the historic heart of Mineral Point, Roland’s Loft is the top-floor studio apartment in the building that beloved Mineral Point stonemason and potter Roland Sardeson gifted to Shake Rag Alley upon his death in late 2016. Since 2017, renovation work had been in progress by many local businesses, contractors and volunteers to expand workshop offerings and lodging capacity in the building that was originally built in 1877 as an addition to the Globe Hotel.
Before bequeathing the entire building to Shake Rag Alley, in 2009 Sardeson began partnering with Shake Rag Alley to feature the basement apartment, known as The Tuckpoint, as overnight lodging for Shake Rag Alley arts and crafts workshop students and visitors to Mineral Point. With the gift of the rest of the building, Sardeson — a military veteran and an early resident artist of Shake Rag Alley in the 1970s — allowed Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts to create a studio and gallery space for a Mineral Point artist, expand workshop space for Shake Rag’s growing ceramics curriculum led by nationally acclaimed artist Bruce Howdle, and add a fifth guest space with the renovation of Roland’s Loft.
“Roland lived in this studio apartment for over 25 years, and we have been very careful to keep much of its charm intact,” said Shake Rag Alley Board President Michael Christensen. “All of the cabinets were made and salvaged by Roland, and we’ve incorporated pieces of Roland’s life and Mineral Point’s history all around the apartment.” Those pieces include a unicycle from Sardeson’s personal fleet, a collection of theater posters and playbills from his amateur acting career in Mineral Point, photos of his skydiving days and stints impersonating Alan Ludden during the annual “Password” tournaments, and more.
“Roland was a man of all things,” said Howdle, a longtime friend and neighbor who donated several of his wild prairie ceramic tiles to decorate the kitchen and bathroom in Roland’s Loft. “He loved theater, the woods, skydiving, he had a fantastic arrowhead collection … so the goal here was to pass on his belongings for use by the community, not for profit. We’re bringing back the character of the historic fabric of the community in this space.”