NEWaukeean of the Week

Fred Kaems

"I love this city and have seen it grow so much in the past five-plus years, but we have far to go."

By - Mar 18th, 2019 01:57 pm
Fred Kaems. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Fred Kaems. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?

All over the city painting murals. It is awesome because I get to meet so many different and interesting people, plus I also get to use my skills to add to the beauty of the city. I can’t think of anything better than that!

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?

I was born and raised in Milwaukee so I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I thought I would leave, and even after traveling I feel like this is home. So I guess the question “what has kept me here?” is what is important.

What do you love most about Milwaukee?

Summertime! What’s not to love? After the months of cold, snow, and slop we shed our winter coats and get right to having fun. There is something to do almost every night, and a festival every weekend. Countless farmers’ markets, concerts, nights out, sporting events, cultural celebrations, food, drinks, nature to wander through, neighborhoods to explore…

If you could create one thing in Milwaukee, what would it be?

A place for artists to be able to create artwork on walls legally, without the lengthy application/design process that is often involved in creating murals. It would be a great place for emerging artists to practice and for established artists to have fun. It would be great for the city and artists alike.

What is your biggest hope for this city?

That we can continue to move towards the future. Milwaukee has long suffered from doing things the way we have always done them. I love this city and have seen it grow so much in the past five-plus years, but we have far to go. Forward thinking is important to our continued success. This applies to everything… infrastructure, culture, education, divisions in the city, and so much more.

What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?

Almost impossible to pick just one, but the Riverwest 24 (RW24) has to be at the top of that list. It’s 24 hours of community, sharing, and coming together. Plus there happens to be a bike race, that is only as serious as you want it to be. I have participated as a rider a number of years and also been a spectator, and it is exciting from both vantage points. It also reminds me of how much humanity still exists in this world.

What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?

I have lived all over the city, and every neighborhood has great things that make it unique and fun. For the last six years, I have called Washington Heights home, and there are so many reasons to love it. We love our neighbors. It is a great part of the city to raise a family, close to where I grew up in Sherman Park and centrally located. Washington Park is beautiful and a short walk away (Wednesdays at the bandshell are fun). There is so much character in the homes of the early 1900s, when most of the area was built. The neighborhood just feels like home.

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