Digital Billboard Art Month Brings Ten-Day Art Exhibit to All of Milwaukee
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has issued a proclamation recognizing October 1-10 as “Digital Billboard Art Month”(DBAM).
(September 11, 2013) Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has issued a proclamation recognizing October 1-10 as “Digital Billboard Art Month”(DBAM). Due to the generosity of Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar Advertising, IN:SITE, fostering temporary public art, has organized a first-of-its-kind-in-the-nation digital billboard art initiative.
Eighteen City of Milwaukee nonprofit visual art groups will have at least one billboard in rotation on one of eighteen digital billboards. The organization or institution curated its billboard panel with images from one or two artists. On one side of the billboard is also an identification panel with the name(s) of the artist(s), the name of the nonprofit that selected this art to represent it, along with the phrase “Digital Billboard Art Month.” There are no participant logos or website addresses.
People on Milwaukee highways and streets will be treated to a ten-day art exhibit that will create awareness of City of Milwaukee artists and visual art nonprofit organizations and institutions. Lamar Sales Manager Jay Guidinger estimates conservatively, “Over the ten days of the campaign, well over one million people will have the chance to see these pieces of art.” IN:SITE anticipates some people will decide to look up more information about the artists and nonprofits.
Art curated by these eighteen organizations and institutions will be highlighted:
Coalition of Photographic Arts (CoPA)
Grand Avenue Club
Grohmann Museum, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University
Historic Milwaukee, Inc.
INOVA (Institute of Visual Arts), UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts
Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Latino Arts, Inc.
Milwaukee Art Dealers Association (MADA)
Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN)
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Mount Mary University
Walker’s Point Center for the Arts
Wisconsin Visual Artists (WVA) Southeast Chapter
Woodland Pattern Book Center
The adult artists represented worked in a broad range of mediums, including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and collage. Some of the art references Milwaukee. The participating nonprofits also indicate the breadth and depth of art experiences in Milwaukee.
On Wednesday evening, October 2nd, from 6-8, INOVA, 2155 N. Prospect Avenue, will host a DBAM reception, cosponsored by Creative Alliance Milwaukee. INOVA is two blocks away from a digital billboard displaying at least one of the DBAM images that night. People can walk over to see billboard art “up close and personal.” The theater at INOVA will be showing all the billboard images, with a presentation about the project at 6:30. This discussion will feature Graeme Reid, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. For Reid, the focus of DBAM on local art is critical. “Before we champion out-of-state artists,” says Reid, “we need to recognize our own talents. If we fail to do that, we not only ignore the past, but insult our present and fail the future.”
The sites for the billboards will not be available until late September. Clear Channel Outdoor donated twelve billboards and Lamar donated six. Paul Sara, Milwaukee Market President for Clear Channel Outdoor, says digital billboards are “the perfect medium to bring this vibrant and soulful art to the public. Clear Channel Outdoor looks forward to a successful run of DBAM and the opportunity to showcase local artists, schools, organizations, and venues.”
Pegi Christiansen, IN:SITE chair, thanks the DBAM national advisory team for assistance establishing the guidelines for this project in 2012:
Lisa Berman, Chair, Milwaukee County Percent for Art Committee
Anne Bray, Executive Director, LA Freewaves
Nancy Heller, former Executive Director of the Westport Arts Center
Amy Mangrich, IN:SITE cofounder
David Morrison, Program Manager, Billboard Art Project, sponsoring art on billboards across the country since 2010.
Melissa Musante, Milwaukee artist
Karin Wolf, Friends of Blue Dress Park
Janet Zweig, New York-based artist whose public art projects have included both digital and temporary elements.
IN:SITE also thanks graphic designer Marly Gisser, UWM intern Scott McDowell Dobson, and MIAD intern Elise Thomm for their help.
Nationally, art on billboards, both vinyl and digital, is growing. DBAM differs from other projects because they have either shown art without any text to identify it, or have text panels with website addresses and other information that clearly identifies them as advertising as well as art. DBAM rests right between these two approaches.
IN:SITE is not a nonprofit, so does not have a billboard and is not mentioned in any manner on the billboards. If successful and the billboard companies agree to another project, IN:SITE would pass the baton to another group to coordinate this future effort.
By October 1, a map with the locations of the eighteen digital billboards will be available at (download map here)
One image from each of the eighteen participating organizations/institutions can be seen at
When you click on this link, it has the participants in alphabetical order. When you click on a box, it will open the full billboard panel.