WAM DC Announces Creative Placemaking Subcommittee & Collaboration with Westown Wednesdays
Program alignment aims to deepen revitalization efforts in the district
WAM DC is proud to announce the formation of a Creative Placemaking Subcommittee in order to support its efforts along West Wisconsin Avenue, dubbed The Avenue. This WAM DC subcommittee is a collaboration with the City of Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) and its Creative Placemaking Committee, Westown Association, NEWaukee, Creative Alliance Milwaukee (CAM), MKE<->LAX, and other neighborhood stakeholders. The subcommittee’s work aligns with the City of Milwaukee’s Growing Prosperity Plan including using creative placemaking to establish places within Milwaukee in which all segments of the community and region can interact. Further alignment with the City’s plan includes revitalizing The Avenue with a focus on cultivating artists as entrepreneurs, supporting innovative businesses, enhancing quality of life and opportunity, and improving neighborhood market conditions.
The WAM DC Creative Placemaking Subcommittee builds from work initiated in 2014 through Creational Trails: The Avenue including the NEWaukee Night Market, which was supported by ArtPlace America, and CAM’s 4MKE Initiative, which was commissioned by WAM DC. These 2014 summer initiatives influenced community perspective on safety, density and vibrancy on The Avenue, particularly at night, through the integration of art and creative entrepreneurship. The Avenue explores walkability and interaction with a broad range of cultures enjoying downtown’s main street through animating a vacant lot and historic streetscape.
The WAM DC Creative Placemaking Subcommittee also announces a second summer of collaborative programming with Westown Wednesdays, which this year includes the Westown Association Farmers’ Market, River Rhythms, the NEWaukee Night Market and CAM’s 4MKE Initiative. This collaboration is made possible with the support of the City of Milwaukee, WAM DC, the GMC, CAM, NEWaukee, the Westown Association and MKE<->LAX, with funding support from local businesses and the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant, which also includes in-kind technical support from the Project for Public Spaces.
The Night Market aims to create a free, vibrant, safe and interactive place in downtown Milwaukee for people to experience culture at night. The program features art and craft vendors, technology installations, food trucks, live art creation, performances, local music, a beer garden and interactive nonprofit booths like the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Puppy Pit.
This year, the Night Market runs on West Wisconsin Avenue from 5 to 10 p.m. on the following Wednesday evenings: June 17th, July 22nd, August 19th, and September 16th. Westown’s River Rhythms takes place in Pere Marquette Park weekly on Wednesdays between June 10th and August 26th from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Westown’s Farmers’ Market occurs in Zeidler Union Square every Wednesday from June 3rd to October 28th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WAM DC is also supporting the CAM project to activate a portion of the city-owned surface parking lot at 4th and Wisconsin in an effort to establish a long-term development plan for this critical property along West Wisconsin Avenue. This daily activation will be an iterative, evolving space featuring “lighter, quicker, cheaper” infrastructure and programming for the next two to five years. “Our intention is to position this parcel of West Wisconsin Avenue as a public square and a location for creative activities,” explains Maggie Kuhn Jacobus, president and CEO of CAM.
The physical proximity of the concurrent programs happening in Zeidler Union Square, Pere Marquette Park and the city-owned lot at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue will be highlighted through temporary chalk art displays, musical performances, paper lantern light installations and guided walking tours during NEWaukee’s Night Market.
“Westown has always been the place to be on Wednesdays during the summer,” said Angela Damiani, president of NEWaukee. “For 20 years, the Westown Association has hosted a delightful farmers’ market and one of Milwaukee’s famous free concert series. These programs have established a strong and vibrant culture; we hope that the monthly Night Market expands upon the public’s positive experience in Westown.”
Finding intentional points of connection for all four organizations’ programs and revitalization efforts is top of mind for organizers. Each group serves as WAM DC Creative Placemaking Subcommittee members.
“These creative placemaking initiatives, working in concert and collaboration with each other, are excellent models for how integrated thinking, planning and implementation can help create environments where the whole is more vibrant and mutually beneficial than the individual parts alone,” said Steve Chernof, president of WAM DC.