Jeramey Jannene
Visual Art

Busy Intersection Will Promote Kindness

Artist Fred Kaems partnering with North Shore Bank on effort.

By - Apr 28th, 2022 02:57 pm
North Shore Bank, 510 E. Pleasant St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

North Shore Bank, 510 E. Pleasant St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

People coming and going from downtown Milwaukee will soon have some artistic encouragement to be nice.

Artist Fred Kaems is installing seven-foot-tall, painted letters near the intersection of N. Water St. and E. Pleasant St. that spell out “BE KIND.” The artwork is scheduled to debut in June.

The installation is sponsored by North Shore Bank, which operates a branch in a redeveloped house at 510 E. Pleasant St. The bank opened the branch in 2020.

Kaems will also paint the windows on the banks as part of a kindness-themed installation.

“We hope this new art installation serves as a reminder to all to spread kindness, and we invite the community to come and take photos, say hi, and engage with us during our events this summer,” said bank district manager and vice president Cristen Baumann in a statement.

Kaems has painted a number of murals in Milwaukee, including the city’s first Giannis Antetokounmpo mural in 2018, the two-story tall “Dream Library” in 2020 and “Greetings from MKE” in 2021.

North Shore launched its Bank of Kindness program in 2020 and reports donating $42,000 to nonprofit organizations as part of the ongoing effort.

The 1,800-square-foot Pleasant Street bank branch includes a glassy addition to a brick house. It was the 43rd branch for the Brookfield-based bank.

Beyond repurposing the existing house, the new branch takes advantage of the sloped site and offers a patio overlooking The North End apartment complex and Milwaukee River.

A grass-covered lot remains at the western edge of the site overlooking the intersection and provides a space for Kaems’ art as well as future programming.

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