For the past few years, Made In Milwaukee’s semi-annual Bay View Gallery Night has taken the tried and true citywide art exhibition and whittled it down to a single neighborhood. By staging many of its exhibits at various untraditional locations—bars, restaurants, parking lots—BVGN has also shone a light on local businesses, linking the oft-disparate worlds of art and commerce. Art and artists may be BVGN’s primary focus, but the event often comes across as a holistic celebration of all that is right and good in Bay View.
Still, even though BVGN is concerned with just one locale, its lineup can be unwieldy. For Friday’s installment—which runs in one form or another from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.—more than 50 local businesses will host more than 200 local artists and musicians. What’s more, the inaugural Bay View Jazz Fest will be folded into the lineup. In the interest of making the night a bit more manageable, Milwaukee Record rounded up a 10 hot spots you won’t want to miss.
Colectivo is the presenting sponsor of BVGN, so it only makes sense that the coffee king’s Bay View location will serve as the event’s unofficial home base. The Cortney Heimerl-curated BVGN Art and Craft Fair will be held in Colectivo’s back parking lot throughout the day (the same location as the monthly Maker Market), with goods from over 30 local vendors, live portrait art, and murals from the finalists of the A-Lot Mural Competition. The bold, colorful, and amoeba-like paintings of Pfister artist-in-residence finalist Dena Nord will be displayed inside.
Beulah Brinton House
On September 6, 1860, the sidewheel steamship Lady Elgin left a Milwaukee dock for Chicago. It would be her final voyage: Two days later, en route back to Milwaukee, the ship sank in Lake Michigan after it was slammed by gale force winds and struck by a passing schooner. A BVGN group show inspired by the Elgin disaster—which claimed the lives of approximately 300 people—will take place at the headquarters of the Bay View Historical Society, the Beulah Brinton House. Collage work from Brandon Minga, fashion from Timothy Westbrook, and video from Kurt Raether are just a few of the highlights.
Frank’s Power Plant
For the past two years, Moss Folk’s Andrew Shelp has brought some of the country’s best psychedelic bands to Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Psych Fest. For BVGN, Shelp will turn his curatorial eye to art when he brings together work from artists Sandra Boskamp, Ryan Bollis, Scott Johnson, and the MIAD Print Collective to Frank’s Power Plant. Boskamp’s fractured portraits, in particular, should mesh well with Shelp’s psych sensibility. Music from Cat Flap, Peter J Woods, Speakerdust, and Gray Barker caps the night off, beginning at 9 p.m.
At first listen, WMSE’s Wild Wild Midwest Variety Show may seem like little more than an unwieldy, rambling talk show. But hosts Makeal Flammini and Ella Dwyer bring a sly, subversive, and often hilarious edge to the show, whether they’re interviewing local artists or just talking about their obsession with Roseanne Barr. For BVGN, Flammini and Dwyer promise an “Incredibly Awkward Evening” at Palomino, where they’ll set up shop with a typewriter and handheld recorder, and interview anyone willing to chat with them. On-the-fly poems and drawings (and post-interview dance jams) are also promised.
Highbury, Club Garibaldi
As if a shit-ton of art concentrated in one neighborhood wasn’t enough, BVGN is collaborating with Milwaukee Jazz Vision to stuff 13 different local jazz bands into four different venues for Bay View Jazz Fest. Of those locations, be sure to check out the Highbury, where the Bronzeville Jazz Quintet, Dierdre Felner/Scott Currier Duo, Spirits Quartet, and Jacobi & The Pillow Snatchers will perform. And at 10 p.m., head over to Club Garibaldi for a set from summer mainstay De La Buena.
In addition to her gig on the Wild Wild Midwest Variety Show, Ella Dwyer is an accomplished artist. Her recent paintings are like storybooks seen from space, with miniature figures set against yawning, abstract landscapes. Those painting will be on display at Blackbird Bar as part of Dwyer’s “Tropies” exhibit, accompanied by music from DJ Brandon Brazil Reyes.
What’s better than an embroidery show featuring the work of 14 artists (curated, once again, by Cortney Heimerl)? An embroidery show featuring the work of 14 artist and free pie, of course. “Embroidery + Pie.” ‘Nuff said.
Though most BVGN locations are within walking distance from each other, the best way to take in all the art and music is from the two-wheeled comfort of a bike. New this year is the BVGN Rollout, a family-friendly bike tour that will make stops at many of the event’s galleries. Registration begins at 5 p.m. at Rush Mor Records, with the rollout starting at 6 p.m. Just remember: Wear your helmet, and watch out for the city’s experimental pothole installation.
Visit bvgn.org for a complete schedule of events and exhibits.