Catherine Jozwik
Art Scene

Jazz Gallery Offers A Diverse Array of Art

Home to the Riverwest Artists Association, the gallery provides a platform for local musicians and visual artists. And it has big plans for the future.

By - Oct 7th, 2019 03:04 pm
Erika Diamond, a Jazz Gallery Center past residency artist, works with gallery visitors during Art Walk 2016. Photo courtesy of the Riverwest Artists Association.

Erika Diamond, a Jazz Gallery Center past residency artist, works with gallery visitors during Art Walk 2016. Photo courtesy of the Riverwest Artists Association.

The Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts at 926 E. Center St., home of the Riverwest Artists Association (RAA), regularly hosts art exhibitions, live music, various community events, and a nondenominational day program for older adults.

For more than three decades the association has provided support to local artists and musicians, but they didn’t purchase their space on Center Street until 2008, having previously leased a series of galleries. They kept the name ‘Jazz Gallery’ for the building in honor of its former use. It was a music club called the Jazz Gallery from 1978 to 1984. “Many jazz greats played there, such as Dizzy Gillespie,” said Mark Lawson, RAA and Jazz Gallery Center president.

Throughout the years, Rawson noted, the RAA’s galleries have highlighted artists working in different genres and media. On Sunday, the association hosted its 40th anniversary Art Walk 53212, a neighborhood-wide event that featured the work of a number of independent artists and galleries.

The Jazz Gallery Center has given a platform to many local musicians, from hip-hop to jazz to experimental artists. “We have given voice to many types of art and music that would often not get much, if any, exposure,” Lawton said. The Jazz Gallery hosts a Tuesday Night Jazz Jam 7 to 9 p.m. every week. And not just jazz plays there, it has given a platform to many local musicians, from hip-hop to experimental artists.

On October 12, Ohio-based guitarist Zakk Jones will perform at the Jazz Gallery with his band. The RAA Annual Members Show, which opened September 20, will be on display at the Gallery through October 26.

Lawson said the Jazz Gallery has big plans for the future, including expanding its music program and offering more workshops run by local musicians and singer-songwriters. “Hopefully, if funding can be secured, we will be launching a youth program in sound engineering next year,” he added.

The gallery continues to showcase work by diverse and dynamic local artists, many of them younger. “A new generation of art curators has begun to influence our visual arts program. We expect many interesting exhibits in the future from these young people,” Lawson said.

Art News

On Friday, the Cedarburg Cultural Center announced its plans to transform its East Entrance into an Art Garden, a new outdoor venue in which to host weddings, business gatherings, and art events. The project was made possible by an anonymous benefactor. Designed by Ginkgo Leaf Studio, the Art Garden “provides a contemporary new area to display art, give an audience to music, and appreciate historic art and sculpture year-round “en plein air,” according to a recent press release.

Art Events and Gallery Openings

Monday, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.:

Between Two Galleries, 423 W. Pierce St., in conjunction with Walker’s Point’s Var Galleries and Studios, will host “Drink & Draw,” a group figure-drawing session. Admission is $1, and drinks are available for purchase at the gallery’s bar.

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.:

Milwaukee Art Museum associate curator of prints and drawings Nikki Otten will host a Gallery Talk at the MAM, 700 N. Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI. on the MAM’s current exhibit, Landfall Press: Five Decades of Printmaking. 

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

The MAM will host a seated Trolley Tour of the Wisconsin Avenue Sculpture Milwaukee public works of art. Visit for tickets and more information.

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.:

Urban Milwaukee hosts a docent-led tour of the Wisconsin Avenue Sculpture Milwaukee public works of art. For tickets and more information click here.

Thursday, noon:

Laura Fiser, curator of collections and exhibitions, Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh, will host a Salon Talk at the Milwaukee Art Museum discussing Gustave Caillebotte’s 1877 painting “Boating on the Yerres (Perissoiressur l’Yerres),” in the museum’s Collection Galleries.

Friday, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.:

Educator Claudia Orjuela will host a Full Moon Walk at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee, WI. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and experience the Lynden’s outdoor sculptures illuminated by the light of October’s hunter moon.

Saturday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.:

An opening party to celebrate Wisconsin nature artist Tom Uttech’s latest exhibit, Into the Woods, will be held at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), 205 Veterans Ave. West Bend, WI. The exhibit will run through January 12, 2020.


On the Water, an installation of custom canoe and kayak paddles made by Kevin Kowaleski and Justin Mosling, will open at the MOWA.

Last Chance: Exhibits Closing

TL Solien’s Forest Fighter/Black Eye Joke will close at the Tory Folliard Gallery, 233 N Milwaukee St., Saturday.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us