Fresh AiR at the Pfister
On Monday the winner of the 2010 Artist-in-Residence Program was announced at The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, following a long search and voting process. At the same time, the man who generated a lot of well-deserved attention as the program’s first resident announced plans for where the Reginald Baylor Studio would move to next.
Pitted against such well-known local artist runner-ups such as Bridget Griffith Evans; Mutope J. Johnson; Sara Mulloy; Kristopher Pollard and Aries Tjhin — it was Katie Musolff, a portrait painter currently living in Bay View, who won the coveted position. Musolff will get to use the hotel’s art studio and gallery, receive a monthly stipend and gain high-profile visibility as she works in an open public space.
“Katie’s intense passion for art shines through in her personality and the pieces she creates,” said Joe Kurth, The Pfister’s general manager. “She has a highly interactive style, and we feel she will deeply involve hotel guests and members of the community into her process.”
Musolff stated that she was looking forward to the challenging new experience. “My head is still spinning and filling up with new ideas and possibilities. The folks at The Pfister make up a well-oiled machine, and now I get to dig in, spend a year learning from them and add in my own voice to the whole structure.”
According to her blog, Musolff decided just days ago to start a new larger painting project tentatively called The Pearl Street Project, which continues her intimate look at neighbors and folk – this time from her block in Stoddard, WI.
In a recent statement, Musolff said: “My goal is to blur the lines between us (artists) and them (non-artists) by taking regular people and elevating them to a subject worthy of being painted. When they’re shown in a gallery or museum and seen by art educated people, I want to mix them together so you can’t tell who is who.”
Meanwhile, acrylic painter Reginald Baylor, the first winner of the rare honor, first stepped into the role of full-time artist with this program and will continue that with a stay at Open Book in mid-April. Baylor also maintains a small yet highly visible studio in the lower level of the Marshall Building in the Third Ward.
In a written statement, Baylor said he plans to focus and draw inspiration from the Milwaukee’s Fresh Water initiative. The composition that the painter will work on is a depiction of the Milwaukee River in the Kettle Moraine region of Wisconsin.
Baylor said, “I’ve made it my mission to deconstruct the mystery of the artist and the artistic process by creating pieces while being approachable and accessible to the general public.”
In his time as The Pfister Artist-in-Residence, Baylor received honors in a national juried 2010 Black Creativity contest at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and was recognized by the Wisconsin Arts Board. He also put out The Reginald Baylor All-Ages Coloring Book as a fundraiser to help beautify the city by supporting its urban arts initiative.