Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums Inc.
Press Release

Villa Terrace Art Museum announces biennial exhibition celebrating contemporary craft

Exhibition to feature five Greater Milwaukee artists

MILWAUKEE (March 7, 2023) — The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum on Milwaukee’s East Side returns to its roots with the exhibition “Mestiere Biennale” which surveys and celebrates contemporary craft in Greater Milwaukee.

“Mestiere” – Italian for craft – is a juried exhibition surveying contemporary craft in the region. Artists must exhibit mastery of their material discipline to be selected. This year’s exhibition was juried by Curator Laura Bickford of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and features the works of Abigail Edmonds, Sheila Held, Melissa Paré, James Smessaert and Michael Ware.

“These artists address transformation and the nature of change, craft histories and futures, and the malleability of humble materials such as wool, wood and clay,” says Bickford of her choices. “They provoke new considerations of the contemporary world through their work, highlighting craft’s continued relevance to how we live.”

“There’s been a resurgence of craft in the public eye,” notes Senior Curator Phoenix Brown. “This exhibition is a way of celebrating craft and elevating it. Craft is artmaking and should be valued as such. ”

The Villa Terrace and Wisconsin have deep roots in craft according to Brown and the Museum’s Executive Director, Jaymee Harvey Willms.

“Decorative arts is a very broad term in art,” says Willms. “Our collection and the Museum itself, exhibit an experimentation and mastery of the material rooted in functionality. That’s craft. From our wallpaper to our Colnik collection we are immersed in work that is both decorative and craft.”

Brown agrees. “Craft is ingrained in Greater Milwaukee, from architectural details in historic buildings like ours to the thriving makers spaces,” remarks Brown. “Craft continues to be relevant and continues to evolve. ‘Mestiere’ will explore its evolution and elevate local makers and artists of craft.”

“Mestiere Biennale” opens Thursday, April 6, 2023 and runs through August 13. A free public reception will be held opening night to celebrate the new exhibition from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Light appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available.

For more information regarding the exhibition or the Museum visit

About Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums Inc.
Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Museums Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving Milwaukee’s history and enriching the county through culture and the arts. CAVT supports and celebrates the public’s access to these two historic homes and their art collections by providing innovative and inspiring exhibitions and programming that encourages a better, stronger and more inclusive Milwaukee. CAVT Museums oversees the conservation and continued development of the Museums through member and donor support. For information regarding membership, admission and events visit

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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