Will New Art Jumpstart Downtown?
Milwaukee Downtown hoping art draws people back to the heart of city.
A new effort by the downtown business improvement district aims to use public art to draw people back Downtown as COVID-19’s spread slows this summer.
“It’s time to jumpstart our economy,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District #21, in a statement. “Our new arts and culture initiatives offer something for everyone to safely experience everything Downtown has to offer this summer. Meanwhile, we’re thrilled to be able to put our local creatives back to work.”
Nationally-recognized artist Kelsey Montague, famous for his selfie-friendly murals with wings, will paint a new piece on the north side of the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The piece, “What Lifts You,” is being done in partnership with the Wisconsin Center District. As part of the effort, streetcar station shelters will also receive original artwork from local artists.
A new, art-covered food truck Tatay’s Truck, operated by Meat on the Street, started serving Filipino food earlier this week. It’s wrapped in a mural painted by Emma Daisy Gertel that features symbols found in Filipino culture and a bright, floral pattern that can also be seen in Daisy Gertel’s “Westown in Bloom” mural. Tatay in the Tagalog language means “father,” a nod to the family from the brother and sister team that started the restaurant. You can find the truck via its website or Facebook page.
The “Massimals MKE” sculpture, a series of five life-sized bears, will see its white color scheme replaced with a rainbow one in recognition of the LGBTQ+-focused Pride Month. The pieces will be reinstalled in Cathedral Square Park by Jason Scroggin in time for Pride Month in June and will stay on display through September. The installation is sponsored by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Milwaukee Pride, Inc.
A series of local artists will be commissioned to perform live canvas painting and chalk mural installations in Red Arrow Park starting in July as part of a new “Art in the Park” event. Applicants for the paid positions are being sought via the BID’s website.
The previously announced mural for Schlitz Park, which will be the largest ever done in Downtown, will also be completed in June, joining a series of other murals Milwaukee Downtown has commissioned in recent years. Installation for Sculpture Milwaukee’s annual exhibit is also underway.
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