Heights Dream Library Mural Brings Art & Literacy to Milwaukee’s West Side
Milwaukee Arts Board funds matching grant for Fred Kaems artwork at 5700 W. Vliet St.
June 23, 2020 – Milwaukee’s Washington Heights Neighborhood will feature a new mural aimed at promoting both adult and children’s literacy, support neighborhood involvement and provide a connection to libraries.
The Heights Dream Library is a mural featuring imaginary books on shelves that will be painted this summer by Fred Kaems on the east-facing wall of 5700 W. Vliet St. The project is sponsored by the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association and is supported in part by a grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board.
“The Heights Dream Library is intended to be a visual reminder that ideas sparked by dreams can change the person, the neighborhood and the world. Through colorful portrayal of imaginary books, we hope to promote innovation and reading,” said Dan Schley, the owner of the Vliet Street building.
Project artist Fred Kaems is a Washington Heights resident who works as a painter, muralist, designer and maker, and his work is in private collections around the country. For more information, see http://fredkaems.com/.
A steering committee of neighborhood residents is accepting suggestions for book titles that will be painted on the wall. To avoid copyright conflicts, all titles must represent imaginary books, such as Washington Heights Rock Stars, 51st Street Follies or Phoebe’s Math Magic. Suggestions can be made online at https://bit.ly/HDLtitle. The steering committee will review suggested books and choose about 40 titles based on creativity and diversity.
Additionally, book sponsors who contribute $500 can choose both the book title and author – for instance, the name of a teacher or a grandchild. The steering committee has the final decision-making authority on mural content.
Schley said the Milwaukee Arts Board matching grant will pay for almost half of the $11,000 anticipated costs of the project, and the committee is hoping to raise the rest of the funds through contributions at the Heights Dream Library Facebook site, https://bit.ly/HDLdonate. All funds raised above the project costs will be donated to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation. Details are on the project website, www.HeightsDreamLibrary.com and this FAQ.