Jeramey Jannene
Visual Art

Artist Selected For Downtown’s Largest Mural

Greg Gossel will paint 9,600-square-foot mural in Schlitz Park this summer.

By - Apr 5th, 2021 02:16 pm
Schlitz Powerhouse mural site. Rendering by RINKA.

Schlitz Powerhouse mural site. Rendering by RINKA.

Artist Greg Gossel will paint a 9,600-square-foot mural, downtown’s largest, in Schlitz Park this summer.

The new owners of the business park, Crestlight Capital and TGP Real Estate, announced the selection Monday morning alongside the Milwaukee Downtown business improvement group. The organizations issued a request for proposals in August, offering a $50,000 commission.

“The thoughtful and intentional revitalization effort that is occurring at Schlitz Park creates a setting that reinforces community, culture, and collaboration. Schlitz Park ownership understands the value of incorporating public art and the positive and connective effect that art has in the work environment,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, in a statement. “As an exciting addition to Milwaukee’s flourishing public art collection, we expect the Schlitz Park mural to become another must-see icon when visiting downtown.”

“Born and raised in Wisconsin, the opportunity to play a role in the revitalization of Schlitz Park is a dream project for me,” said Gossel, 38, in a statement. “As my largest mural, I can’t imagine a better wall for this one-of-a-kind project. My goal is to create a visually exciting and vibrant mural that celebrates Schlitz Park and the city of Milwaukee — past, present, and future.”

The new mural will be painted on the south-facing, 80-foot-by-120-foot facade of the former Schlitz Powerhouse, 1542 N. 2nd St. The brick wall is visible to the south from both sides of the Milwaukee River.

The specific details behind the work aren’t being released in advance, but Gossel’s work often involves a multi-layered design of words and images. Gossel will start tracing his work on the wall at the start of June, with the mural’s completion targeted for the end of that month.

“This highly-visible mural will share a collective view of what makes Milwaukee famous while honoring the city’s rich brewing heritage, one that builds on the traditions the Grunau and Sampson families meticulously embraced and preserved as the campus’ original developers,” said Crestlight Capital founder John Coury. The investors acquired the property, and its 775,000 square feet of leasable space, for approximately $110 million in 2019 from the Sampson and Grunau families. The development of the complex was led by the late Gary Grunau in the 1980s. It is currently 92 percent occupied and the new owners are engaged in a $6 million renovation effort, including a new plaza, revamped signage and a new operator for the historic Brown Bottle restaurant.

The powerhouse wall is currently adorned by a Schlitz Park logo, with the slogan “the best of both worlds.” The Milwaukee Bucks, who have an office in the complex, had a banner of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker on the wall for a period when the team unveiled its new green-and-white color scheme and jerseys.

It won’t be the first time Gossel is connected to the Bucks. In 2018 he created a mural entitled “Brick by Brick” that runs along the first floor of Fiserv Forum along W. Juneau Ave. He also painted the “Greetings from Milwaukee” mural that runs along the pedestrian alley and beer garden in the Deer District development. Smaller pieces can be found in the owners’ suite inside the arena.

Gossel maintains a studio in Trimbelle, WI, south of River Falls.

Gossel’s new mural will join a number of other large murals downtown, many completed in the past three years. Emma Daisy painted the 4,000-square-foot “Westown in Bloom” mural in 2019, with Mauricio Ramirez adding the 5,000-square-foot “Heart and Sol” nearby and German-artist Case Maclaim creating the six-story “Unsung Hero” in the Historic Third Ward. Last summer Ken Brown painted a 3,720-square-foot piece entitled “The Hero in You” on the side of the MacArthur Square parking structure, Jaime Brown turned an unadorned skywalk into a canvas for her 1,380-square-foot mural “Kindred” and Shepard Fairey and his Obey Giant team installed the 7,400-square-foot “Human Rights are Voting Rights” on the side of the Colby-Abbot Building. But all are dwarfed by Richard Haas9,000-square-foot mural of the Pabst Building painted in 1981 on the side of the Warner Grand Theatre. This new mural will be larger by 600 square feet.

Photos

Bucks Murals

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