Jeramey Jannene

Art Campaign Highlights Milwaukee, New York Teens

Milwaukee streetcar and New York subway stops to feature inspirational messages.

By - Aug 1st, 2022 02:26 pm
Art Start's See Me Because campaign at the Cathedral Square streetcar station. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Art Start’s See Me Because campaign at the Cathedral Square streetcar station. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A new public art campaign aims to elevate teenagers from historically-marginalized communities to explore their identity and envision their lives beyond stereotypes.

“See Me Because,” as the exhibit is known, features black-and-white portraits of teens from Milwaukee and New York City at seven streetcar stations along The Hop’s route. A digital exhibit is also running concurrently in the New York City subway system.

Art Start is proud to collaborate with Milwaukee youth, Milwaukee Downtown and The Hop to build this public platform for the voices and visions of young people in our city,” said Johanna De Los Santos, executive director of Art Start, in a statement. “Having a safe, creative space to explore one’s identity and practice self-determination is critical for all people, especially youth of color in the city of Milwaukee. Most express their desire to transform our world. They need to know we are asking and listening to their courageous replies.”

Accompanying the photos, affixed to the shelter at the stop, is a statement from the pictured teen with a positive message. “I am capable of anything,” says Iman at the Cathedral Square station.

“These young people have voices and achievements that ought to be known, and this is an opportunity to make that happen,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “I am pleased we have this new approach to presenting their thoughts and dreams.” The mayor met with some of the pictured teens last Thursday as part of a press conference to unveil the artwork.

The Milwaukee exhibit will be on display through the month of August.

The effort is part of County Executive David Crowley‘s “Year of the Youth” campaign. The effort is a partnership between the city, county and civic organizations to create opportunities for mentorship, education and artistic displays.

“Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners at the county and city to lift up our local youth, who have experienced unprecedented challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown.

Art Start, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, maintains offices in both New York City and Milwaukee. The organization said those pictured in the campaign participated in workshops and in-depth dialogue sessions.

The Milwaukee campaign can be seen at the Historic Third Ward (westbound), Wisconsin Ave. (northbound), City Hall (southbound), Cathedral Square, Jackson St. at Juneau Ave. (southbound), Ogden Ave./Jackson St. (westbound), and Burns Commons stations.

New Sponsor For The Hop

While many of The Hop’s stations now sport new artwork, one of the streetcars itself now has a new advertising wrap.

Clarios, the Johnson Controls battery spinoff, paid an undisclosed amount to sponsor a vehicle wrap that is to last for at least two months. The company is based in Glendale.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino remains the presenting sponsor of The Hop through a $10 million, 12-year agreement. Its branding remains on every streetcar, including the Clarios vehicle.

Those looking to find the Clarios streetcar can look for vehicle 4 in the TransLoc smartphone application.

A number of other organizations have sponsored vehicles including Everstream, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Salvation Army and Marquette University.

A kiosk system that is intended to generate advertising revenue for the system as well as provide real-time arrival information was interrupted by the pandemic. Only a handful of kiosks have been installed.

The 2022 city budget calls for $4.6 million to be spent on operating the streetcar system. That expense will be offset by $1.44 million in direct revenue, with the remainder coming from the city’s parking revenue. Direct revenue sources include Potawatomi Hotel & Casino ($833,333), other sponsors and a federal grant ($214,000). Transdev’s contract includes a provision for payment based on service hours provided, so a reduction in service would save the city money.

More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

Read more about Milwaukee Streetcar here

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