In the Nā Pali Kona Forest Reserve, along the side of Mount Waialeale on the island of Kaua‘i, Susan and I emerged into an extraordinary energy. The rocky and muddy path up Waialeale led us into shrouds of clouds and bursts of rain. It was beautiful. It was challenging.

The peak of Waialeale is on the southeast ridge of an extinct caldera—a large cauldron-like hollow occupying an empty chamber of magma which erupted through the earth as a volcano. The caldera is now a plateau called the Alakai Swamp, a swamp where swamps aren’t—by the ridge of a mountain, four-thousand feet above the sea. When we emerged into the swamp, nobody else was there. We felt its energy moving through us. It was as peaceful as you could possibly imagine, and it was pulsing magnetically. The night was approaching. We didn’t want to leave the place.

Every place—every park and garden, every apartment and house, every restaurant, bar and café—has its own energy. A vibe. An aura. Some flipping thing created by or through or because of what and who occupies the place. What’s truly extraordinary about MARN Art + Culture Hub (191 N. Broadway) is its energy.

MARN Art + Culture Hub


MARN features a gallery and marketplace, but its Third Ward neighborhood may be known just as well for its café, which is called Coffee + Wine by Interval. As you emerge into MARN, its café meets you with a two-dimensional style of design, making you feel as if you’re jumping into the pages of a graphic novel, a story about a cocktail of coffee and craft, art and wine. “Just as Interval is a space for our neighborhood to get together over coffee and food, MARN is a space for artists and arts appreciators to meet and share ideas,” says Mal Montoya, President of MARN, the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network.

The owner of Coffee + Wine by Interval is Ryan Hoban, who purveys and roasts his own coffee from top quality small growers around the world. Ryan also owns rich experience as a coffee brewer, replete with national awards for his espresso and cold brew, as well as a debut café at 1600 N. Jackson St. (His third café is coming up at 2266 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View.)

MARN Art + Culture Hub


Ryan also curates Interval’s exciting list of natural wines. These are wines made with honest agriculture and oenology. They aren’t made with herbicides and pesticides, inoculated with factory yeasts or manipulated with chemical additives. These wines are fully alive. “We found our lane in natural wine through our relationship with coffee,” says Ryan. “Small producers, low intervention feels very similar to the way we select coffees from growers around the world. Honestly, the vibes from small coffee growers and natural wine makers seem very similar.”

All of which speaks for the energy of MARN Art + Culture Hub and Coffee + Wine by Interval. “Every month brings new art to our gallery walls, new handmade items to our Marketplace and new menu items to the café,” says Mal. “The best part of all of this is that artists get paid for their work here, as MARN takes a below-industry-standard commission on all art sold here and proceeds from each cup of coffee or glass of wine eventually make their way back to Milwaukee’s arts ecosystem. In short, you may just be visiting for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, but in doing so you are investing in keeping artists and their creativity in Milwaukee.”

Come for the coffee. Come for the wine. Come for the art.

Stay for the energy.

Read the article written by Caetano Marangelli from the Shepherd Express here.