Michael Horne

Arts Projects Coming to Wisconsin Avenue

Greater Milwaukee Committee bringing two major art installations to Downtown and the Beer Line Bicycle Trail.

By - Mar 14th, 2014 11:30 am

Armed with an ArtPlace America grant of $350,000, half of which will go to artists and performers, the Greater Milwaukee Committee will launch two major temporary public arts installations in Milwaukee this summer, it was announced at the meeting of the Milwaukee Arts Board Tuesday, March 11th, 2014. “Creational Trails” was selected among 1,200 applicants.

  • “The Avenue” is planned for W. Wisconsin Ave. around N. 3rd St. and N. James Lovell Drive, said Sara Daleiden, who made the presentation to the board. (The exact boundaries have yet to be determined.) Things will kick off June 14th-15th with an overnight camping event on the avenue, with temporary art installations and performances following until September. Artist Ayla Boyle will install a Dream Catcher on the skywalk at the Riverside Theater, while Paul Bestul will install a “Moire Effect Pathway / Gateway” on Wisconsin Avenue. It is planned to include a bicycle corral at the northwest corner of N. Old World Third St. Evelyn Patricia Terry, who was awarded the Artist of the Year honor at an event following the meeting, will produce “Luv Downtown StreetSeats” on W. Wisconsin Ave.
  • “The Artery” will expand and enliven the Beer Line Bicycle Trail from E. Keefe Ave. and N. Richards St. northwest to W. Capitol Dr. Twenty performance ideas were selected by a diverse community jury at All People’s Church in Harambee. The Public Theater, Present Music, Overpass Light Brigade, Hansberry-Sands Theare Company, and Ina Onilu Drum Ensemble are among the presenters.
Wisconsin Avenue Dream Catchers

Wisconsin Avenue Dream Catchers

“[Milwaukee] could write the playbook” for placemaking, declared GMC executive director Julia Taylor, who has partnered with Creational Trails in “contributing to a creative infrastructure of placemakers in Milwaukee as a model for a mid-size American city’s relationship to public space, economic development and cultural integrity.” The GMC has an initiative to “build on the pivotal nature of arts and culture into community development,” and to “leverage and champion impacts of local and national funding.” It has already been involved in projects with Newaukee and beintween,

The goals seem lofty, but major funders like ArtPlace and the Kresge Foundation see creative placemaking as a good place to throw big bucks at the arts as a means to “drive the kind of long-term visioning that a community needs in order to remain vital and healthy,” according to Kresge CEO Rip Rapson, speaking at a placemaking conference in Los Angeles on March 4th.

Gone are the days of grand monuments and grandiose redevelopment projects imposed upon neighborhoods by experts and corporate titans. ArtPlace claims that “creative placemaking, to be truly successful, is created with and by a community — not to it or in spite of it.” In just three years the organization has made over $42 million in grants to more than 100 creative placemaking projects nationwide.

ArtPlace has a tenet that arts and culture must be at the center of the conversation on community development programs, not as an outlier. Placemaking is seen as central to community planning and development. Rapson cited studies showing that creative placemaking led to a perception of neighborhood and community health and growth. This in turn feeds reinvestment.

Think of neighborhoods as you do wine-growing regions in France — placemaking helps give each a distinctive terroir within the context of the whole.

This can only be done by community involvement, it is believed. The community juries, like the one that selected the finalists for the Artery performances, will be obliged to get even further involved. As Rapson said, “ultimately, a sector that has long stood outside the fence-line of major public discussions and decisions, looking in, will have to get inside and mix it up.”

Keith Hayes, a 2012 graduate of the UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning masters degree program, the founder of beintween, and the instigator of the wildly popular Holton Marsupial Bridge Swings, said “placemaking has been a catalyst, and a mechanism to begin those conversations” with residents and visitors to impacted neighborhoods.

Ald. Michael Murphy, the Chair of the Arts Board and Common Council President, said he expects the expansion of arts projects in Milwaukee. Murphy appears to be embracing the idea of some considerable projects, and referred to the Chicago Bean (Cloudgate) as an example of an engaging public arts project. “What makes a great city is its ability to attract people of different backgrounds,” he said.

Creative Placemaking Forum Set For City 

A Creative Placemaking Forum is set for Wednesday, April 16th 2014 from 3-6 p.m. at Turner Hall, 1034 N. 4th St. It will feature local and national studies of creative placemaking. The event will be hosted by the Greater Milwaukee Committee in partnership with Creative Alliance Milwaukee and the Mandel Group, Inc. Speakers will include representatives of the Kresge Foundation and ArtPlace America along with others including Kimberly Driggins of the District of Columbia Office of Planning, Ellen Gilligan of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Barry Mandel of the Mandel Group, Ald. Michael Murphy and others.

The event will coincide with a Kresge Foundation site visit to Milwaukee by Alice Carle, the foundation’s Managing Director, Arts and Culture and Helen Davis Johnson, its Program Officer, Arts and Culture to review the two Creational Trails locations, to meet with elected officials, Arts Board representatives and community leaders and to participate in the forum.


Categories: Real Estate

One thought on “Arts Projects Coming to Wisconsin Avenue”

  1. MilwaukeeGirl says:

    I’m totally in love with this entire concept and have been following this story from the very beginning. I really wish these things didn’t have to be temporary though. Anyone know why these couldn’t be permanent forms of art? I truly wish they could stay.

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