NEWaukeean of the Week

Krista Renfrew

"I think the city is at this wonderfully exciting time when the next generation is starting to take leadership roles and have a voice in their community."

By - Jun 22nd, 2015 11:45 am
Krista Renfrew

Krista Renfrew

What is your job and its responsibilities?

I am the Director of Special Events at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Over the past seven years I’ve worked with a fantastic development department to raise funds and produce donor events for the Museum. We bring to life events, such as MAM After Dark, Yoga @ the Museum, the Museum’s black tie gala Bal du Lac, and our largest event Lakefront Festival of Art, just to name a few. Trust me, though, there’s a lot more to development events then throwing a party! I am lucky enough to work at a place I truly believe in, and get to work with and meet some of the city’s greatest people in the process.

What is your favorite Milwaukee event?

Obviously I’m biased, but my favorite event is Lakefront Festival of Art! In the city of festivals, this festival is very near and dear to my heart. As a child, I remember going down to the lakefront and walking the artists’ booths with my parents. For me it’s such a great thing to be director of the festival now.

What is your favorite Milwaukee beer?

I’m slightly ashamed to say in a city of beer… I don’t like it. I’m a Bourbon girl. Central Standard Craft Distillery has one of my favorites.

Favorite place to grab coffee/an after dinner drink?

Coffee, hands down — Stone Creek. Especially the location on 6th and St. Paul Street.

Favorite little known fact/secret/hidden gem in Milwaukee?

I’m not sure how secret it is but Bavette and Hue is freaking delicious, as well as Vanguard in Bay View. If you haven’t gone to these places, you really need to get out and go do it.

What is the most effective way to implement change in Milwaukee?

Keep the game changers here. It’s that simple. This city has so many creative and intellectual minds growing up and expanding in the professional world. Businesses need to keep them here. When companies see a person who thinks outside the box, don’t let them go! Those are the employees who are going to keep their business and Milwaukee moving forward. I think the city is at this wonderfully exciting time when the next generation is starting to take leadership roles and have a voice in their community. I’m super excited to see what comes of it.

How does Milwaukee vary from other cities you’ve lived in/visited?

Milwaukee strives for the best. We have the heart of a small town but the gumption and charisma of a large metropolis. These exact characteristics are reflective in Milwaukee Art Museum. With the Calatrava addition, we put ourselves on the international map and became the city’s icon. Fifteen years later, we’re doing it again with our new addition. We’re helping Milwaukee move forward.

11 thoughts on “NEWaukeean of the Week: Krista Renfrew”

  1. Randy Wickersham says:

    Why is the first question “what is your job”? Why is there nothing else to discuss other than careers and resto-bars? Among all these supposed young thought leaders in Milwaukee, why is there no wider vision for the city beyond announcing everybody’s favorite place for coffee/beer/food?

    It’s just, the careerism, the consumerism… I appreciate that this is the only city-blog in Milwaukee. I would love this blog if the people that run it had a better sense for what cities are about.

  2. Kat says:

    Yawn… Another Caucasian with a communications degree… Another denizen of downtown/WP/Bayview… Please. This goes to show that NEWaukee is elitist, cliquish, and focused only on the “cool” parts of the city. I’d like to drop one of their featured faces at 21st and Villard and see how they fare.

  3. AG says:

    Do either of you actually follow who Newaukee is or what they do? Do you actually know what their membership looks like and in what ways they are trying to help improve our city?

    Such negativity towards a positive group that actually cares and tries to better our city. I don’t get it.

  4. PMD says:

    AG I know a lot of people who have worked with Newaukee in the recent past, and not a one has a single positive thing to say about them. They expect starving artists to work for free. They make a lot of promises that they don’t follow through on. They can throw parties and secure corporate sponsorships, but I’m not sure they are actually doing much good for the city.

  5. AG says:

    I can’t speak to the art related activities that Newaukee has a hand in… but as for being a young professional group I think they’ve done a lot considering what they are and what they focus on. They’ve done a lot to help make the city attractive to young professionals and help companies in the city attract and retain employee’s. That’s the biggest impact I’ve seen, and it has always come across to me as highly successful in that regard.

    I know they’re dabbling a lot more now in connecting people to non profits and trying to have a direct impact on revitalizing downtown and a slew of other things. I don’t know what people are expecting really, but at least from my perspective I’ve seen a lot of positive change and momentum in the city that they’ve had a hand in.

  6. PMD says:

    How do you quantify the work they do though? Would young professionals really be leaving Milwaukee if it wasn’t for Newaukee? They seem to excel at getting press coverage, no doubt about that. And they definitely need improvement when it comes to helping nonprofits. That I know from firsthand experience.

  7. Nicholas says:

    alot of hate here….

  8. AG says:

    I’m actually rather shocked by the negativity. I’m not extremely involved with Newaukee but I’ve worked with them before and participated in their events here or there. But I’m also familiar with a lot of the other work they’ve been involved in… too much to list out.

    I personally know several people who moved to Milwaukee and largely attribute their positive image of the city to Newaukee and things they were connected to because of it. But that’s a rather limited and circumstantial set of evidence… as much as your example seems to be as well, PMD.

  9. PMD says:

    Yes my examples are not comprehensive AG, that’s true. And I have not attended one of their events. But people I work with and am friends with have worked with them, attended their events, or have other direct experience with them. Most of what I know about the group is based on what these people have told me, and it’s not good. But to be fair that doesn’t mean they don’t do anything positive whatsoever. I shouldn’t have implied that, just that what I’ve heard has been negative.

  10. Casey says:

    I think Newaukee is really helpful for people that are coming into Milwaukee from outside the region and appeals to them. The events that I’ve gone to have felt like they’ve just extending the “bro-culture” of college rather than being more inclusive. Their statements might sound like they’re trying to be inclusive but the actual atmosphere is anything but.
    Nicholas- instead of viewing it as hate a successful organization would view it as an honest critique and would consider things they may alter to change that view. It is a widely held view.

  11. Casey says:

    Also….doesn’t Paul Omeig (previous Newaukee of the week) live in Kenosha which isn’t even in the Milwaukee metro?

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