East Side BID
Press Release

New Black Cat Alley Public Street Art Gallery Opens This Sunday On Milwaukee’s East Side

Black Cat Alley Grand Opening Ceremony and Black Cat Alley at Villa Terrace Exhibition Opens Sunday, September 18

By - Sep 16th, 2016 07:24 am
MTO: New Orleans mural.

MTO: New Orleans mural.

Milwaukee, Wis.— The Black Cat Alley (BCA), a major new street art destination on the East Side will have its Grand Opening this Sunday with BCA organizers, sponsors, artists and community leaders. A BCA Meet The Artists and panel discussion will be held at The Back Room at Colectivo on Prospect Friday, September 16 at 8:00 PM and is open to the public. The major installation will culminate with a Black Cat Alley Grand Opening September 18th at 1:00 PM with a ribbon cutting ceremony, music and food.

A BCA artist exhibition will also open at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum and will be on display through October 23. As part of the opening of the BCA on Sunday, September 18, the exhibition will be open free to the public from 1 to 4pm. Entrance to the museum beyond the exhibition requires normal admission.

“The artwork in this exhibition, titled Black Cat Alley at Villa Terrace, is meant to present the artistic talent of the 2016 Black Cat Alley (BCA) artists, who will be creating new and original artwork in the mural alley during the summer and completed on Sunday, September 18, 2016. Black Cat Alley is intended as a gift to everyone who appreciates public and open-space art. This exhibition shows the artists’ studio/gallery work in hopes to bridge the understanding between what is street art and what is fine art,” said John Sterr, Executive Director of the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. “The importance of the BCA, other than the artwork is in the harmony and community in which it proudly represents. This year’s project brings together artist from different backgrounds, mediums, styles, and scenes to celebrate what art should be – – accessible to everyone.”

“Black Cat Alley at Villa Terrace is a display of the great local and national artist talent we have in the alley and provides a chance to see a greater expanse of their work. It has been a great opportunity to partner with the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum on this project.” said Howard Leu of the Walker’s Point Center for The Arts. Leu assisted BCA artists in the installation of the exhibition.

“We are grateful to sponsor the Black Cat Alley, the artists and their work and look forward to continuing collaboration with Black Cat Alley and other art groups.” said Sterr.

The Black Cat Alley is a corridor of world-class street art murals created by a diverse group of jury selected international, national, local professional and student artists. The Black Cat Alley commissioned one internationally acclaimed European artist known only as MTO who has installed his first ever self-portrait and full-color piece titled A French man in Milwaukee in July on the south facing façade of the Oriental Theatre.

The Black Cat Alley is comprised of outdoor, large-scale murals, in a two-block private alley now an open gallery and public walkway between Kenilworth Blvd and Ivanhoe Place in the alley between the Oriental Theater on Farwell and Colectivo on Prospect. As the first in a series of great outdoor galleries, the Black Cat Alley name was inspired by the UWM Panthers and is located on Milwaukee’s East Side near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts.

About the Artists:

“MTO”, International Professional Artist

MTO is a graffiti and street artist born and raised in France. Between 2006 and 2013 he lived in Berlin where he created some of Europe’s most iconic murals. MTO is best known for his hyperrealistic, larger-than- life portraits. Most are black and white with the odd splash of color incorporated. He has been featured in multiple publications including books, newspapers, magazines, videos and blogs. His only other work in the USA has been in New Orleans, LA and Sarasota, FL.

Bunnie Reiss, National Professional Artist
Los Angeles, CA

Bunnie Reiss creates to bring together. Materials, community, cultures, experiences, the past and the present, are all part of her visual catalog. She wishes to map out unusual lives, find hidden and forgotten places, build a unique visual history, and weave it all together as one. She is a natural storyteller, time-traveler and lover of all that is us, and she lives in a world filled with magic and imagination.

“CERA”, National Professional Artist
Philadelphia (formerly of Milwaukee)

Janson Ross Rapisarda: “As a mural artist, I aim to abstract the figure by fragmenting portions of the face and embellishing with pattern work. The piece will consist of multiple faces and figures, highlighting Milwaukee’s racial and cultural diversity. I am very comfortable working at the largest scale available and will execute the painting with Montana’s acrylic spray paint. I primarily grew up in and around Milwaukee, spending 11 years there, and only recently moved to Philadelphia. I’d really look forward to working with this project because I’ve seen a lot of potential for street art and mural arts in Milwaukee over the years.”

John Kowalczyk, Local Professional Artist

A native of Chicago, John was the artist in residence with the Around the Coyote Gallery in 2006.  After receiving his BFA in painting from MIAD in 2010, Kowalczyk began his residency with RedLine Milwaukee where he holds a studio. He has participated in exhibitions at the Jackpot Gallery, Borg Ward Collective, American Fantasy Classics, the Sienna Art Institute in Italy, and the Charles Allis Art Museum, among others.

Andrea Guzzetta, Local Professional Artist

Andrea is a local artist, designer and stand-up comic whose work has been exhibited throughout the city. An ardent feminist and history buff, Guzzetta’s mural will feature a triumphant female rider on horseback, a play on the classic portrait of Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Guzzetta’s work has been exhibited at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, the Pfister Hotel, the Green Gallery, the VAR Gallery, and more.

Jenny Jo Kristan, Local Professional Artist

Jenny Jo is an artist, maker and illustrator from Milwaukee. She is currently working on a large mural installation at the Sky High Skate Shop and Gallery in Bay View. Her artworks are available on Etsy, as well as in shops like Hot*Pop, Sparrow Collective and the Waxwing.

Adam James Stoner, Local Professional Artist

Originally from North Carolina and now an illustrator, painter and opera-stage-set maker in Milwaukee, Adam engages the audience with his mixed medium paintings that capture emotions and spark curiosity. Adam’s proposed mural addresses Milwaukee’s painful legacy of incarcerating a higher percentage of black men than any other city, yet his handling of this sensitive subject is poignant and impactful.

Tia Richardson, Local Professional Artist

Tia’s primary focus as an artist is to serve as a resource for schools, churches, community organizations and non-profits. She facilitates community-led murals; bookmaking, story-writing and illustration programs. Some of her common themes including building healthy self-esteem; creative community empowerment; the environment and academics. In December 2015 she gave a TEDx UW-Milwaukee talk about how community art reinforces being more empathetic and cooperative with one another.

Brandon Minga, Local Professional Artist

A Wisconsin native and a graduate of MIAD, Brandon Minga is a multi-media artist who explores the parallels between technology and the mortal condition. Layering wood, paint, graphite, paper, giclée prints and found objects together into intricate compositions, he melds nature and artifice into surreal worlds of organic automatons and living structure. Currently, he is the artist-in-residence at Flux Design, a design/build firm, and exhibits with their gallery, Gallery326.

Jeff Redmon, Local Professional Artist

Jeff Redmon is a Milwaukee based artist focused on creating abstract paintings and drawings, but also works in printmaking, collage, digital imagery and experimental art with found objects. Redmon explores the depths of his subconscious, creating bold abstractions through the use of expressive line, vibrant color, pattern and composition. His abstract work tests the imagination of the viewer, many having unique interpretations, insights and connections to the art. Redmon is a dedicated studio artist, creating paintings and prints for the purpose of gallery exhibition and sales. He also works as a community artist, organizing, curating, advocating, collaborating, and creating public art.

Jeremy Novy, National Artist
New Orleans (Milwaukee Native)

From http://verticalgallery.com/collections/jeremy-novy “For the past eighteen years, Jeremy Novy has utilized stenciled street art to explore social and political issues. Novy has two intentions for his stencils: first, he creates public works that make his city a better place to live by bringing a bit of the arts to everyone, regardless of income or background. Seeing problems such as abandoned telephone booths and boarded up buildings, he creates artful solutions by overlaying stenciled posters onto the disused objects giving them new life. His second intention is to bring gay imagery into the homophobic subculture of street artists by covering hateful and distasteful graffiti in our communities. Novy wants the gay street artist community to flourish and not be bullied or afraid to express themselves with their artwork. Novy has an associate’s degree in graphic design and a BFA in photography from Pecks School of the Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His unique stencils of legendary drag queens, gay pulp and local talent and koi can be spotted all over the United States and were responsible for netting him a showcase at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He was also flown to Milwaukee to stencil the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer mansion. Jeremy’s stencils have benefited non-profit foundations, advocacy organizations, and community service programs, and have been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, museum archives, private collections and in film.”

Tim Decker, Lecturer at Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tim Decker is a Lecturer at Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tim teaches Animation, Character Development, Puppetry, Claymation and Drawing for animation. His Student’s films have been featured across the nation for the National Poetry Foundation. His Students are major participants in many National and International Film festivals. Throughout his career, Tim has won numerous gaming awards from PC Magazine, Communication Arts Magazine, Family Magazine and the Academy of Arts and Sciences. As well as several Television Awards 3 regional Emmy awards for his participation with Milwaukee Public Television. Tim Decker has played an important role in children’s entertainment over the past several decades. With extensive experience in game animation, character design and children’s television, Tim has taken on the roles of Animation Supervisor for Disney Interactive, lead animator for Knowledge Adventure, and layout artist/animator for the award winning television series “The Simpson’s!” As well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Alvin and Chipmunks and the Critic. He has also appeared on many episodes of the “Imagination Station” as a guest artist inspiring children in the art of animation and cartooning. He has extensive experience directing animation in Canada, India, Korea and the United States.

Renee Aless Martinez, Student Artist, printmaking major, MIAD

Renee is a Texas native pursuing her studies in printmaking at MIAD. She has proposed a series of wheat-paste artworks that will be different from the other more traditional murals in that they will be printed in a studio and applied semi-permanently to the walls of the Black Cat Alley. Renee is the only student from MIAD to be juried into the 2016 cohort of artists.

Ian McGibbon, Student Artist, painting major, UWM

Ian McGibbon, a UWM senior studying art and design, will be painting a contemporary painting consistent with the expressive style he has cultivated in his student portfolio. Recently, Ian worked with seniors at the Eastcastle Place in their Student Artists in Residence program, an unusual partnership that brought students from UWM together with older adults to create art.

To arrange an interview with any of the artists contact Stacey Williams-Ng (pronounced “UNG”) at blackcatMKE@gmail.com, or call (414) 477-7282.

Please contact Erin Stenum at marketing@theeastside.org to request images or call (414) 899-1817.

About the Black Cat Alley

The Black Cat Alley, owned by The East Side Business Improvement District #20 is 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. Sponsors include Roundy’s, Colectivo, New Land Enterprises, Joseph Property Development, City of Milwaukee Arts Board, UWM Peck School of the Arts, Villa Terrace Art Museum, Randall Frank Contemporary Art Collection, Educators Credit Union, Brenner Brewing, Great Northern Distilling, Comet Café, Blick Art Materials, Village Ace Paint and Hardware, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Digital Edge. Visit http://blackcatMKE.com for more information.

About The East Side BID

The East Side Business Improvement District #20 manages and promotes the thriving commercial district along E. North Ave. on Milwaukee’s East Side and provides neighborhood enhancement programs, event production, business recruitment and economic development for the area. Visit theeastside.org for more information.

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