Judith Ann Moriarty
5Q

The Marshall Building’s Robert DeToro

By - Jul 23rd, 2010 04:00 am
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Robert DeToro can often be found sitting in front of his computer in Suite 525 on the Marshall Building’s fifth floor. It’s his job to keep things humming, and this co-owner and manager prefers being called “Bob.” I’d say he’s a modest chap, as is his office in the grand old brick building clinging to the corner of Water and Buffalo.

It’s where a hefty portion of Milwaukee’s “art action” is, and on any Gallery Night & Day, the sidewalks are crowded with folks bound hither and yon. I mentioned some of the building’s art tenants in my prior 5Q, “Elevating Tenants, so let’s kick off this further exploration with a few sentences about the two elevators:

It’s news to me. I didn’t know one of the two elevators is actually the freight elevator!

The one with the ’70s paneling is the freight elevator. It’s the slow one. A lot of people don’t realize that there is a separate button for the “passenger” elevator to the right which is much faster. Our new signs will attempt to help people notice this. We have kept the slow elevator around because it helps tenants get to know each other… it’s an oldie but a goodie.

Is it your goal to make the Marshall Building a destination for the arts?

That’s our goal. We’ve formed an association that will plan “Marshall Building Events” to promote ourselves even further. It’s amazing what can be done creatively to an old storage or mechanical room. Those spaces are affordable for the artists and help beautify the common areas. Currently there are 64 tenants, and almost half are art related. I think of them as my guests. We have a great vibe.

A close-up of the proposed signage changes from Ellingson Brady

You mentioned signage. It’s currently a hodge-podge. Looks to me like people tend to slap any old thing on the walls, in the halls, etc.

Signage in a building like this is not as simple as it may seem. On any given Friday afternoon in the lobby you may find yourself dodging an array of sandwich board signs.

The good news is, a large interior sign in the lobby will list the “Marshall Building Galleries,” complete with each gallery/studio, where located, and hours they are open. The same beautiful basic design (see image of signage designed by Ellingsen Brady Advertising), will be created from perforated steel and extruded aluminum replete with silk screened images of the building.

Later this summer, we’ll look to adding more exterior projecting signs to the Water Street side, designed to match the current signs on the Buffalo side.

How about smoke-free? I used to hang on the front steps and smoke when I came here for art openings.

The interior is smoke-free, although my nose tells me there are still “sneakers” once in a while. We do allow smoking outside on the loading dock off the alley.

I see Art Kumbalek out there puffing quite a bit. Of course, he has cohorts. Maybe he’ll quit. Aina? Art?

People who don’t know the Shepherd is on floor four ask me, “Hey, what’s Art Kumbalek doing here?” He definitely brings color to the area, as do many of our tenants. It’s the building’s eclecticism that makes it interesting. It’s fun to be part of that.

(Moriarty notes: Hey, let’s call the building AIM and target an image around that. “Art in Marshall.”  I like that.)

Categories: 5Q

0 thoughts on “5Q: The Marshall Building’s Robert DeToro”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great piece.
    Bob DeToro is deserving of many thanks for his dedication to the arts community, as well his crew who work diligently behind the scenes to make sure everything goes as planned.
    Thank you Bob,
    and TCD!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Our gallery has nothing but good news and cooperation from Bob DeToro. Many thanks to him for letting us develop our gallery in such a wonderful building and location.

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