Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cultural quiz time (again)!

In the recent days, Mary Louise Schumacher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been posting answers to her quiz "How well do you know your cultural scene?" on her blog, Art City.

If you have had difficulties with the quiz, we wanted to propose an alternative: you can figure out the answers to Mary Louise's questions by responding to our very own set of queries below. If you do so, you will certainly be enlightened on some important aspects of Milwaukee's cultural scene.

Here are our questions:

1. What public installation organization displayed "You are Beautiful," a collaborative effort brought to Milwaukee in conjunction with Chris Silva's "Public Display of Affection" installation at WPCA?

2. Who curated "Please Love Me" at WPCA?

3. Name the contemporary gallery whose owner did his college internship at WPCA?

4. Which spoken word artist conducted a writing series and performance at WPCA?

5. Which publication presented a review of WPCA's Annual Members Show exulting its celebration of the "democracy of art"?

6. What prestigious annual award was received by Mat Rappaport, Fred Stonehouse, Gary John Gresl, Faythe Levine, Colin Matthes and Nicolas Lampert who exhibited at WPCA?

7. Students from what UWM Department will again present their annual Milwaukee Underground Film Festival at WPCA in May? Which faculty member of this UWM Department coordinated the exhibition "Driving East through Indian Country" at WPCA?

Thanks to Gary for his witty questions.
Last, but not least, comes my question:

8. As inferred from the questions above, could you live without WPCA?

AWE needs your help!

I am relying this information on behalf of Kari Couture. AWE needs your help!

Artists Working in Education (AWE) is currently seeking Intern/Assistants for their summer Truck Studio program.

AWE's fleet of brightly painted Truck Studio vans visits parks and playgrounds to provide free art activities to children ages 4-14 (June 29 - August 7). The Intern/Assistant position is a seasonal, hourly position in which you meet and work alongside other amazing local Teaching Artists and art students to bring creative art opportunities to children all across the city!

Visit AWE's group on facebook for more information about the organization and programs or check out their website:

If you have any questions, contact Kari Couture:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We're hosting a screening organized by Public Allies/Stand Together Milwaukee.

We need your help bringing local youth to the screening!

When: Thursday, February 26, 2009, 6 pm
What: Sceening of Dear Rita, followed by a community art project led by Artists Working in Education(AWE).

Dear Rita is a personal story from Milwaukee focused on the pain of losing a family member to gun violence. This is the first in a series of New Moon Productions and community discussions presented under the tile Guns, Grief and Grace in America that take an in-depth look at gun violence in America, viewed through the diverse lenses of local, state and national communities.

Stand Together Milwaukee (STM) and Public Allies Milwaukee (PA) joined together to facilitate these discussions. Through collaborative efforts, Public Allies Milwaukee and Stand Together Milwaukee chose to facilitate the screenings and discussions because of its shared commitment to local communities. STM and PA are working to build a strong movement of change to Milwaukee neighborhoods.

The purpose of The Community Engagement Campaign is to raise public awareness of the impact gun violence continues to have on our community every day. These films and discussions are unique because they look beyond gun legislation and focus on gun violence as a Public Health Issue. Come and connect with a network of professionals and individuals in Milwaukee committed to engaging the community, and working together to reduce gun violence.

If you know high schoolers living around Walker's Point, South Side and Bay View, please encourage them to come!

A gift from Mary DiBiasio.

Artist Mary DiBiasio visited us recently and sent us a following visual gift from her visit:

Mary has started photographing intensively in the last several weeks and we're curious to see what will come out of this transition from very tactile, collage-based print into digital photographic print. We're also happy to see that she found our windows so inspirational! You can see more of her recent photographic work on her blog.

A full disclosure: Mary is both a personal friend and a friend of WPCA. She is my studio-mate and we showed here together in the fall of 2006, together with Keith Christopher Nelson. Mary was also in the exhibition "Art in Balance: Conflict and Harmony" with Heather M. Wiedeman and Benjamin John Van Male in the spring 2008, so as you can see her and WPCA have quite a history already. Here you have it!

Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa at WPCA Friday and Saturday

Timothy Scott Harris' THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN NEATO-MAN is a fast-paced, quick-witted farce. Captain Neato seeks for a super-hero side-kick so together they can save the world. Horatio, an innocent nerd answers an employment ad and winds up in the clutches of the combination of Batman/Superman... Mother, and Horatio's childhood sweetheart, Trixie, add the wackiness and the rather poignant insights into what is real and what is... well... the world of Captain Neato-Man...

Come join us for an hour of laughter as the Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa previews this entry into the
AACTFest's Wisconsin Theatre Association state theatrical competition.
The proceeds help the troupe fund the performance at the Fest.

Friday, February 20: 8 pm
Saturday, February 21: 8 pm
$13 at the door/ $11 in advance
For advance tickets e-mail:

AACTFest is a biennial competitive festival for community theatres throughout the United States and the overseas armed forces bases under the auspices of the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT). These festival take place at a state level which picks shows to perform at a regional festival. (Wisconsin is part of Region III -- Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.) The winners from the regional festivals will proceed on to perform at the national festival held the end of June.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Richard Knight at WPCA.

Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, we are featuring a special two-day exhibition by Milwaukee-based painter, Richard Knight.

Many of you might know Richard better as the director of Tory Folliard Gallery in the Milwaukee's Third Ward. Yet, he is also an accomplished artist with nearly 20-year exhibition history in the Midwest. WPCA show can be considered a special sneak peak preview before Richard's solo exhibition at the James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in Madison, scheduled for the summer 2009.

I have known Richard's work for a while and I must say – entirely on the personal note – that I am really looking forward to this show. I have always thought of Richard as the painter's painter: an artist who is highly skilled and sensitive to the language of his medium. Richard's gestural works irresitibly evoke lyrical abstraction of the late 1950s and early 1960s; Cy Twomby – probably more than anyone else – comes to mind when you look at this work. That's because so many of Richard's mark resemble attempts at writing: energetic scribbles that try to articulate something that just eludes words.

In a sense, Richard's elegant work can be seen as a heritage of modernism and if you are a skeptic, it is hard not to ask what it might mean in the messiness of today's art landscape.

What I love about the upcoming exhibition is that it actually helps you answer this question. Aside of his mixed-media works on paper, Richard will also be showing two of his found-object sculptures, which cast a completely different light on his two-dimensional work. These sculptural objects are built out of variety of common, everyday materials: the stuff that accumulates in the artist’s studio as refuse and waste. The materials are utterly humble and ordinary: – wax, tar, wires and paper, but they are juxtaposed with one another in poetic, unexpected ways.

These rich assemblages made out of discarded materials have a dual function: they are art objects in their own right, but often they also become sources for the new two-dimensional works on paper. Together these works create a visual language that documents intuitive and tactile process of making sense out of the world. As opposed to modernist painting so concerned with itself and its own means and ends, Richard's work is entirely of the humble, material stuff we live in and with.

Exhibition hours:
Friday, March 6: 5 pm – 8 pm (artist's reception)
Saturday, March 7, noon – 4 pm

Monday, February 2, 2009

Milwaukee Cultural Alliance - the listening session summary.

The next feedback session with MARN and Cultural Alliance will be held at WPCA on Tuesday, March 3rd.
It will be accompanied by African Ameri-Dance performance by Souljah.
Check back soon for more details!

Since the discussion about the Creative Community Summit is raging, here is a promised summary of the previous listening session.
A big thank you to Denise Lubotsky and Christine Harris of the Cultural Alliance and Melissa Dorn Richards of MARN for letting me quote them in this summary.

Since the stakes of the enterprise of Wisconsin Creative Community Summit are high, we believe it'd be useful to provide a semi-permanent web-space to archive the development of dialogue in our community. Many individual artists felt left out from the cultural planning processes initiated by the Milwaukee Cultural Alliance, so as a membership-based organization, we partnered with MARN to provide a physical venue to facilitate the discussion. We will try to record the essence of the conversation as it continues.

February 27, Listening Session.

The Creative Community Summit – or Kre8 Kamp as you might prefer – was held at Lake Lawn, Delavan, on February 4 and 5. As stated by Christine Harris at WPCA meeting, its purpose was “to commence a planning process for growing our creative community.” The expected outcome is “an overall vision of our creative community with the start of a roadmap on how to get there.” The participants were limited to 45 and were selected based on “representation of all stakeholders, geographic coverage, decision makers in their fields, influencers beyond their job role, and availability for the full two days of the process.” The session was facilitated by Marble Leadership of Chicago, with Leslie Marquard as lead facilitator.

There has been much discussion on the summit in the Milwaukee blogosphere, so here we just want to account for the voices of individual artists as the group that was not well represented at the summit (to say the least).

The listening session started off with Christine Harris explaining the mission of the Alliance: to act as a policy leader, a connector/convener, and a promoter. According to Harris, and I quote from the notes provided by Melissa Dorn Richards here:

…as a policy leader the Cultural Alliance represents the sector at the regional, state and local community table, advocates on public funding and policy issues, increased private and public funding, providing research for policy issue discussions, such as GMC Cultural Asset Inventory. As a connector, the Alliance works to create links between artists and arts organizations and schools and youth serving agencies. Currently through Bader Foundation three year Arts Education Collaborative – the Alliance is providing the State's first ever 'artist educator' web directory. The Cultural Alliance offers seminars and workshops for organizational capacity building, is working to broker collaborations; such as shared services and resources, and representing region in national organizations, such as Americans for the Arts. As a promoter, the Alliance works to develop marketing resources to help build audiences around the region, building web connections for groups and the consumer and is currently working to incorporate social media into the fold.

An important mention was that the Cultural Alliance and MARN are preparing to undertake a survey in order to better know the local artistic community and define it.

Major concerns expressed by the attendees were:
  • Transparency.
  • Adequate representation of individual artists and small organizations. Jeffrey Holub expressed a need for individual artists to advocate for their needs, and proposed an idea of repository where artists could identify their needs. It was suggested the artist survey proposed by MCA and MARN would be a good place to gather this information, and Jeffrey volunteered to help with the survey. According to Implementation of actual change as expressed by Peter Goldberg who voiced his reservations about the GMC handling the Creative Summit/Cultural Asset.
  • Importance of hearing the voices from both non-profit and for-profit sectors and the increased awareness of how the two intersect.
  • Healthcare as a perpetual problem of individual artists – an attendee shared information about artist/healthcare exchanges he'd heard about in New York. The group at large decided that gathering for this type of open discussion was particularly useful and should happen with more regularity, every 1-2 months.
  • Examples of successful Cultural Alliances and their practices. Both Cultural Alliance and MARN are part of the United Arts Funds, a division of the Americans for the Arts (AFTA). According to Christine, many Alliances do funding and re-granting, as well as marketing and promotion, among other services.
The meeting was attended by 35—40 participants.