“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

That’s Kurt Vonnegut, in one of those Kurt Vonnegut-y quotes that makes you want to read Kurt Vonnegut again. It’s simple, direct, and wonderfully forceful: Be kind, god damn it.

It’s also the message of a new pop-up installation along the north end of Water Street. You know, outside the North Shore Bank on the corner of Water and Pleasant. You know, across the street from the Fresh Thyme Market. “BE KIND.”

The 7-foot-tall letters are the work of artist Fred Kaems, who is also set to paint the bank’s windows. Among other works, Kaems is responsible for the city’s first Giannis Antetokounmpo mural. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaems painted the much-Instagrammed “We Are In This Together” garage mural.

“As a community bank, we’re always looking for fun and positive ways to engage our neighbors. What better way to continue to spread our Bank on Kindness® message than a giant, artistically designed reminder on the popular Water Street,” says North Shore Bank District Manager and VP Cristen Baumann in a press release. “We hope this new art installation serves as a reminder to all to spread kindness, and we invite the community to come and take photos, say hi, and engage with us during our events this summer.”

So that’s it. BE KIND. Please.

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.