Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

$350,000 Grant Funds Art Corridors

GMC lands grant from ArtPlace America to create artistic corridors in Riverwest and Harambee and on West Wisconsin Ave.

By - May 20th, 2013 02:07 pm
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ArtPlace America is giving the Greater Milwaukee Committee a $350,000 grant to support the development of two public art projects dubbed ‘Creational Trails. The ARTery proposal, a trail on the former Beerline railroad corridor, will receive funding to convert the two-thirds of a mile abandoned stretch into an attractive trail in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods.  A 10-block stretch of West Wisconsin Avenue through downtown will also receive funding to build a more engaging pedestrian realm.

The GMC won the grant as part of a competitive process with over 1,200 applicants. ArtPlace America awarded 134 grants totaling $42.1 million to 124 projects across the country. ‘Creational Trails will be led by the GMC’s MiKE initiative, but project management will occur at a more local level. Beintween, the group led by Riverwest resident and ARTery creator Keith Hayes, will manage the ARTery implementation. ART Milwaukee, a group that calls W. Wisconsin Ave. home along with the GMC, will manage the implementation of the West Wisconsin Avenue project.

“Arts-related activity plays a key role in contributing to the kind of quality of place that attracts and retains talented people,” said Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. “The MiKE initiative, ART Milwaukee, and Beintween have complementary strategies to make Milwaukee one of the most desirable destinations in the country for talent. We look forward to working together on another ground-breaking project for our city.”

Speaking at the press conference were Taylor, Hayes, ArtPlace America Interim Director Jeremy Nowak, Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Alderman Robert Bauman, Alderman Nik Kovac, Darryl Johnson from Riverworks Development Corporation, and Jeremy Fojut of ART Milwaukee. Nowak noted how he was excited to choose Milwaukee to visit on a day when ArtPlace was giving away grants across the country. Mayor Barrett praised the hard work put in to make the project a reality, and welcomed Nowak to come to Milwaukee anytime he had a grant to deliver. Alderwoman Coggs, who represents the western half of the proposed trail, noted that the name Harambee means “all pull together” in Swahili and applauded the efforts of everyone involved in this project for doing just that. Alderman Kovac, who will represent the eastern half of the trail, arrived by bicycle just as he was scheduled to speak (coming from a library board meeting) shared his excitement about the project. Hayes was wearing a bowtie made out of reclaimed rubber tires, one of the principal building materials of the proposed trail. Alderman Bauman and Fojut spoke of their desire to enhance the successes already happening on W. Wisconsin Ave.

A public information session on the project will be held on July 15th at 6:00 p.m. at Open MiKE, located in the Plankinton Building of the Shops of Grand Avenue, 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2145.

Urban Milwaukee has previously covered the ARTery proposal. Michael Horne also wrote about the unveiling of the guerrilla urbanism urban park, Holton Avenue Swings, that Beintween deployed underneath Holton Avenue along N. Water St. last summer. The park is now a heavily used park officially adopted by the city.

MiKE, Innovation in Milwaukee, has previously received funding from ArtPlace America. MiKE will host Flying Car, a 10-day long technology conference starting June 1st.

Public art isn’t the only thing ART Milwaukee and their sister organization NEWaukee are working to bring to W. Wisconsin Ave. The group held one of their ART Jamboree events in the Plankinton Building this past weekend, turning the mall into a vibrant hub. With a group of partners, last May they held a well-attended Brewers tailgate party in the surface parking lot on 4th St. and Wisconsin complete with an outdoor game broadcast. A party to celebrate the re-opening of the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge was held last September.

Press Conference Photo Gallery

Categories: Eyes on Milwaukee

4 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: $350,000 Grant Funds Art Corridors”

  1. Casey says:

    My family is moving to Williamsburg later this summer and this project was one of the deciding factors for us to plant roots here. It also looks like they are turning the triangle block at the end of Pt Wash Rd into a public space…maybe it will turn out to be something of a public square and weekly farmer’s market.

  2. Tess says:

    I am concerned that there is no real representation from the neighborhoods itself. Having been born and raised in Riverwest and Harambe neighborhoods and still living here today, I am worried that this is another attempt to inflict what is best without representatives from the actual neighborhood to be part of the vetting process. What does the Milwaukee Art Museum know about these neighborhoods? There should be artists from these neighborhoods who are involved in volunteering to be part of the vetting process. Groups like the Riverwest Artists Association who have a long standing record (over 32 years) of community volunteering, working with the schools and neighborhood on a grassroots level.

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @Tess I’d suggest you get in touch with the folks at http://beintween.ning.com/. They list 150 members as part of the group and even before getting the grant had raised over $11,000 from 230 donors to kickstart the project http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keith-hayes/matireal-a-creational-trail. I also glanced at their event calendar http://beintween.ning.com/events and see they are having a couple of events here in the near future where people can get involved.

  4. Carlo says:

    I agree with Tess, there is almost no community involvement in this project. The whole thing feels like gentrification. While I feel that beintween and some of the other groups do have good intentions I don’t think they have enough of an understanding of the socioeconomic factors at play here and will in the end harm the Harmbee neighborhood with this project.

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