Milwaukee Public Library
Press Release

Finalists Chosen for East Branch Public Art Project

The Milwaukee Public Library Selects Four Local Artists To Present Plans for Third Public Art Installation

By - Dec 24th, 2013 08:48 am

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) announces the finalists selected to present design concepts for a public art commission to be installed outside of the new East Branch which will open in late 2014. The creative work is tasked with activating the space outside the library and engaging visitors while reflecting the ideas of community, literature, story and learning.

The finalists are listed below:

Ray Chi, a 2013 Mary L. Nohl Fellowship recipient in the established artist category. His work varies greatly from furniture and film to public art. He is currently an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Visit Chi’s website for more information

Susan Falkman, a sculpture artist who recently published “Body Memories” a book about her marble breast sculptures inspired by a friend undergoing a masectomy. Visit Falkman’s website for more information

Catherine Lottes, an artist and glass fabricator primarily working with recycled glass, designed “Life’s Garden” a pubic art installation for the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee’s Lapham Park Senior Housing. Visit Lottes’ website for more information

Colin Matthes, a 2012 Mary L. Nohl Fellowship recipient in the established artist category. His work is often collaborative with interactive features. Visit Matthes’ website for more information

The finalists have been asked to create site-specific concepts for a public art installation outside of the library. The concepts will be presented at a public meeting on Tuesday, January 21st.

Art Program Details

MPL sent out a “Call for Artists” in November of 2013 and received 22 submissions, which were pared down to four finalists by a public art selection committee. The external public art will create a community space by adding art to a unique triangular-shaped piazza near the library entrance on North Cramer Street.

The selection committee members include: Library Director Paula Kiely, Alderman Nik Kovac, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation Board members Barbara Stein and Cecelia Gore, Deputy Library Director Joan Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Associate Professor and Director of Community Media Project Portia Cobb, East side resident and Beloit College Associate Professor of Art and Art History Mark Klassen and Hammel, Green & Abrahamson (HGA) Designer Jane Dedering.

The public art project for the East Branch is funded in part by grants received from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund, Marvin W. Haesle Fund for the Arts and the Jean Hutchinson Fund, the Milwaukee Arts Board and from the sale of the former East Library Eames furnishings. The library has budgeted $25,000 for the external art work.

The request for qualifications and complete program description can be found here:

East Redevelopment Update

Construction of the Standard @ East Library, the development that will house the new East Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library is underway. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on July 30th. The library will take possession of the new space in March of 2014. The space will be completed in the fall of 2014. The new branch will incorporate the hallmarks of a 21st century library model – technology-rich, highly-flexible spacing used to create a forum for community engagement and collaborative work areas, a smaller print collection, areas for each age group and self-service technology. The branch will be reflective of local history and culture. A blog and regular project updates can be found on or by finding MPL on Facebook or Twitter @MilwaukeePubLib.

Greater Milwaukee Foundation Background

The Greater Milwaukee is a family of more than 1,100 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable cause of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties and beyond. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.

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One thought on “Finalists Chosen for East Branch Public Art Project”

  1. I look forward to the submissions and the public meeting on January 21st. The committee has selected well, but I am concerned that no artist could create a durable piece in such a challenging environment (salt!) on a $25,000 budget. (That sum might get you an everyday bus shelter.) I trust the artists will resist the urge to employ projectors, flipping cards and other moving parts.
    Give us a place-finder and a gathering spot.

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