Catherine Jozwik
Art Scene

West Allis Has Art, Not Just Industry

Local business offers pottery classes, studio memberships and helps fire up new artists.

By - Sep 23rd, 2019 05:02 pm
Cream City Clay's owner Colleen Volland. Photo courtesy of Volland.

Cream City Clay’s owner Colleen Volland. Photo courtesy of Volland.

West Allis may be known more for its industry than its art community, but entrepreneurs like Colleen Volland are hoping to change that perception.

With a loan through the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Center (WWBIC), Volland was able to open Cream City Clay, 7105 W. Greenfield Ave., in 2015.

“I had a background in art education, and from the time I got done as a teacher, I wanted to open a pottery studio,” she said. Volland, who holds a master’s degree in ceramics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said her plan was to offer both a gathering place for potters, as well as a space to work, as art students who graduate often lack these. “You miss that camaraderie,” Volland noted.

Cream City Clay offers pottery classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced students, and classes and camps for children. The studio offers memberships beginning at $105 a month, which include shelf space and use of equipment. Cream City now has 33 members, some of which have formed their own businesses selling their work, such as graphic designer and ceramic artist Julie Terwelp’s Snap Happy Creative.

Volland said she feels “very supported” in West Allis, particularly by mayor Dan Devine, a proponent of arts in the community, and the West Allis Business Improvement District (BID). Community events, such as Christmas On the Ave, also help her showcase her studio.

“It’s really welcomed as a positive thing in this neighborhood,” Volland said.

Cream City Clay will be a participant in Milwaukee’s Fine Craft Studio Tour, a citywide tour of artists opening up their studios and selling their works to the public, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. October 5th and 6th.

The studio will also be displaying work by Cream City Clay members during Gallery Night and Day, October 18 and 19. On October 18, Cream City Clay will also host a raku, or outdoor clay firing, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Art Events and Gallery Openings

Tuesday, 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Milwaukee Art Museum will host Homeschool Day: Modern and Contemporary Art. Geared towards families who practice homeschooling, the day will feature guided museum tours and art activities in the Kohl’s Art Generation Open Studio.

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.: 

A gallery talk on the Nares: Moves exhibition, with curator and MAM director Marcelle Polednik, will be held in the MAM’s Baker/Rowland Galleries. The talk is free for members and free with museum admission.

Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.:

The MAM will host a Sculpture Milwaukee trolley tour of the public works of art located along Wisconsin Avenue. Visit for tickets.

Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. :

An opening preview for “Inescapable: The Life of Harry Houdini” will be held at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Ave. The exhibit opens Thursday.

Thursday, 6:15 p.m.:

Laurence Kanter, chief curator and Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art at Yale University Art Gallery, will discuss Nardo di Cione’s work in the Museum’s collection, Madonna and Child.

Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

Never Gonna Give You Up: 10 Years of MIAD Photo Alumni will open with a reception at Var Gallery, 643 S. 2nd St.

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

The first “Dog Days at Lynden” will kick off at Lynden Sculpture Garden. Visitors are invited to bring their canines to tour the sculpture garden. The event will be held every Saturday through January 19.


The Walker’s Point neighborhood will host its annual 5th Street Fest. The Fest will showcase local food and artisan vendors, along with plenty of local music and other live entertainment.

Saturday and Sunday: 

The annual Doors Open Milwaukee, hosted by Historic Milwaukee, Inc., will grant visitors access to nearly 200 buildings across the city, including the Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee Water Works, North Point Tower, and Firehouse Station 21. Many of the sites have free admission; others are ticketed.

Visit for more information.

Last Chance..Gallery Exhibits Closing

Polished will close Saturday at Scout Gallery, 1104 W. Historic Mitchell St.

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