East Side BID
Press Release

Milwaukee’s East Side to be Transformed by Street Art Mural Installations

Juried artist selection announced, includes renowned international, national and local street artists

By - May 12th, 2016 08:29 am
Bunnie Reiss painting a mural, Photo © Marnie Schayek.

Bunnie Reiss painting a mural, Photo © Marnie Schayek.

Milwaukee, Wis — It’s something many people have seen only in pictures, but soon it will live on Milwaukee’s East Side. The Black Cat Alley (http://blackcatmke.com), a major new arts destination, will be a corridor of world-class murals created by a diverse group of professional and student artists. This “outdoor gallery” will be located in the unlikeliest of places: a quiet and forlorn alleyway between Farwell and Prospect. Eleven artists have been selected and include major names from both coasts, as well as eight local talents.

“We are excited this art installation is not only coming to Milwaukee, but our beloved East Side,” says Executive Director of the East Side Business Improvement District, Jim Plaisted. “To transform this inaccessible area in our business district and turn it into a one-of-a-kind artist showcase for our visitors and residents to enjoy will be transformative—as any catalytic public art project should be,” Plaisted says.

John Kowalczyk mural​, Photo by Jeff Redmon

John Kowalczyk mural​, Photo by Jeff Redmon

The final roster of ten artists have been selected – six local professionals, two out-of-town artists, and two local art students. Additionally, one European artist, known only as “MTO,” will be arriving early in July to paint a major wall piece on the historic Oriental Theatre. These events will leave Milwaukee with 11 major new public artworks, in a small corridor of space.

The local artists whose work will be featured in the alley are: Andrea Guzzetta, John Kowalczyk, Jenny Jo KristanBrandon Minga, Tia Richardson and Adam Stoner. The two students are Ian McGibbon of UWM Peck School of the Arts, and Renée Martinez of MIAD. The two national visiting artists are Bunnie Reiss, a contemporary artist from Los Angeles, CA, and the artist “CERA” of Philadelphia, PA, who has strong Milwaukee roots as a graduate of MIAD.

An MTO mural in Sarasota, Florida. Photo courtesy of MTO.

An MTO mural in Sarasota, Florida. Photo courtesy of MTO.

MTO, the European artist coming in July, is well-known on the global street scene for his grey-scaled photorealistic works, which appear in Berlin, Paris, Venice, Lisbon, Los Angeles, New Orleans and many other cities. This will be his first piece in the Midwest.

The Black Cat Alley has secured early funding from the Milwaukee Arts Board and several notable companies such as Roundy’s and Colectivo Coffee. Fundraising efforts will continue throughout the summer as the committee works to bring this transformative concept to fruition for its inaugural year. The group intends to make the mural festival an annual event, which will allow the expansion of street art to flourish in Milwaukee for years to come.

About the Black Cat Alley

The Black Cat Alley will be an outdoor gallery of street art on Milwaukee’s East Side. Located near the UWM Peck School of the Arts and numerous shops and restaurants, the alley will feature a world-class selection of artists. Major early sponsors include Roundy’s, Colectivo, New Land Enterprises, and the Milwaukee Arts Board.

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2 thoughts on “Milwaukee’s East Side to be Transformed by Street Art Mural Installations”

  1. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    Can’t wait to see it! Very exciting!

  2. Jerry says:


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