Valerie J. Christell

Have Art, Will Travel

By - Jul 23rd, 2010 04:00 am
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Traveling arts. What does that mean, you ask?  Is it traveling arts as in one of those temporary carnivals with death-defying rides we trust to fling us until we scream? Or is it wandering minstrels up from the Bristol Renaissance Faire?

Well, it’s neither.

In this case, “traveling” refers to something else completely: future growth. How appropriate for Walker’s Point, where growth has become second nature to the neighborhood. And it’s not done growing if the Walker’s Point Association and local businesses have anything to say about it.

Before I explain traveling via growth, I’d like to discuss another way that “traveling” word is relevant to the conversation. It refers to a new business in Walker’s Point that only recently traveled south of the river from Milwaukee’s downtown and has planted the seeds of this new community venture.  Brian and Judy Preising of Picture Perfect brought a packet of an idea that has taken off like wild fire. And, unlike in their previous environment, this time their art seed landed in fertile ground.

No doubt you recognize the name Picture Perfect, a business that has been part of Milwaukee’s downtown landscape for the last 26 years. With the shift in the nature of downtown, Brian and Judy looked to the developing Walker’s Point area as one that would better support not only their art business but other artistic ventures. And after moving in November of 2009, they quickly shared their dream of how the arts could support the culture of this community that they were happy to call home.

The result:  the first Walker’s Point Traveling Arts Festival that kicks off Gallery Night & Day on Saturday, July 24 from noon – 9 p.m.

When this art festival concept was presented at one of the monthly Walker’s Point Association’s meetings, it was met with excitement evidenced by W.P.A.’s collaboration with Picture Perfect as well as Altec Roofing, Bucketworks, Continuum, La Fuente, Milwaukee Brewing, Monkey Bar, Super Star Tattoo and The Soma Gallery in the planning of this event.  Numerous volunteers from various Walker’s Point businesses have joined in to do what it takes to enable this new venture to take root.

Bucketworks, which arrived on the Walker’s Point scene in January, has offered its site for this summer festival. Its spacious garage will provide plenty of space for visitors to wander as they enjoy listening to music along with viewing a variety of artwork by 20 artists from as close as Walker’s Point to as far away as Sheboygan. In addition, Dead Man’s Carnival will entertain children of all ages with stilt walking, juggling and evening fire dancing.

Twitter heated up as artists jumped at the opportunity to be part of this community-oriented festival for a minimal fee and extremely small commission (something rare in the art world).  The artists’ fees will be passed on to the Walker’s Point Association along with donations from local businesses:  Milwaukee Brewing is donating all the beer, set-up, bartenders and security, and all area businesses providing food are donating a percentage of their sales as well.  So now is the picture perfect time to ask what the W.P.A. is planning to do with these funds.

Well, that answer can be found on the packet insert of Brian and Judy’s vision.

Photo via Bucketworks Flickr group

The goal of this ongoing festival is three-fold: 1.) Provide an opportunity for artists who don’t have a venue for their work during Gallery Night & Day, and offer visitors an afternoon/evening to enjoy artwork after the standard Gallery Day hours have ended; 2.) Create an entertaining, creativity-oriented family event run by and for those in the Walker’s Point neighborhood; and 3.) Support the community by raising funds for seasonal beautification—changing displays that adults and children can enjoy throughout the year.

Are you still wondering what the traveling part of the title means and how it relates to growth?

The answer is rooted in the enthusiastic response to this concept by the W.P.A. and local businesses as they have already planned to continue this festival each Saturday of the Gallery Night & Day schedule, and each time travel it to different venues throughout the Walker’s Point area.

And with their anticipated success of this initial event, the planners are already dreaming of growing it to include more activities for children, including perhaps even shutting down a street and putting up tents to provide the greatest variety of family fun. Watch for how this festival grows.

Bucketworks’ Garage is located at 706 South 5th St.  Call 414-305-1423 for information.

Categories: Art, Arts & Culture

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