"Milwaukee residents have a true Midwestern warmth."
Where do you work and what makes your role awesomesauce?
I am the Graphic Communications Manager for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). ARCW is a statewide network of care for people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as a provider of prevention services to those at-risk for contracting HIV. My role is an interesting mix of art director and hands on graphic designer. I enjoy the challenge of spearheading the graphical presence of ARCW as a branded statewide organization through all of our print, web, multi-media outlets and marketing campaigns. I also conceptualize numerous revolving artistic styles and graphics for our six special events throughout the year, including AIDS Walk Wisconsin, our annual Make A Promise Gala & Auction in Milwaukee and our newly branded Camp Bingo in Madison, to name a few. The best part about my role at ARCW is working alongside such a passionate group of people. So many of us here at ARCW have a story to share and a reason to be here working toward a world without AIDS. It’s a blessing to be part of the ARCW family and to feel at home here knowing that I contribute daily towards our mission throughout Wisconsin, as well as being part of the leading force in the fight against AIDS nationally.
In my spare time I capture Milwaukee and much of the state through the lens of my iPhone 6S. My side-business, Mb Squared Photography, has been a wonderful and unexpected creative outlet for me. It has given me the opportunity to travel, sell and show my artwork in numerous galleries, installations and businesses throughout Wisconsin, as well as meet new people who are passionate about the photographic arts, our state and great city.
How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?
I have lived in Milwaukee now for 12 years. I moved here from Wheatland, WI to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), earning my BFA in Communication Design. Milwaukee had then and still has now a very talented and vibrant artistic and design community. It was love at first sight and I have yet seen any reason to part.
I love the eclectic mix of Milwaukee architecture. From Walker’s Point to the East Side to the Lakefront to Avenues West, Milwaukee is a stunning melting pot of beautiful architectural influences that are steeped in local history. I must admit that my favorite building in the city is the postmodern Milwaukee Center. Close second is the Eschweiler-designed Wisconsin Gas Building.
What local restaurant is at the top of your list?
Hands down, Stack’d Burger Bar in the Third Ward tops the list! I frequent Stack’d with friends and even family visiting from out of town. Nothing better than one of their stack burgers, the gluten-free Hot Mess (grilled cheese) with added onion, tomato and avocado, or even their corn meal crusted chicken tenders alongside a locally brewed New-Grist Ginger beer. Add crayons and paper placemats for me to doodle on and I quite possibly would never leave there. Zak’s Café in Walker’s Point and Palomino in Bay View are also at the top of my list.
What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?
A favorite tradition of mine is attending any one of Milwaukee’s ethnic festivals in the summer, though I do have a soft spot for Polish Fest. My Mom’s side is pure southside Milwaukee Polish so I’m half Polish. We would come up to Milwaukee and go to Polish Fest as a family when I was growing up. I love the lakefront celebration of garments, music, crafts, dances and definitely food. It’s a wonderful way to spend the weekend: enjoying pierogies, doing the Polka and learning about such a proud culture, especially the Polish presence in Milwaukee. Also, the dill pickle soup is a must. A MUST! Trust me.
What is one word that you would use to describe Milwaukee?
Warm – Milwaukee residents have a true Midwestern warmth. Even in the frigid depths of winter there is a solidarity, an energy and kindness that radiates warmth throughout all corners of the city and its people.
Learn more about Michael and see Michael’s portfolio/photography work here: http://www.MichaelBurmesch.com