Back in May 2013, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and a slew of overlapping and cryptically named local arts groups (ART Milwaukee, MiKE, beintween, probably 8,000 more) were awarded a $350,000 ArtPlace America grant for a project that would install some art on West Wisconsin Avenue and the Beerline Trail. The project was dubbed the “Creational Trails.” Later in the year, two works from two artists were chosen to occupy those “trails.” Simple, right?

Wrong. From the get-go, the project has been fraught with confusing organization names, ridiculous marketing gobbledegook (“placemaking,” “activating space”), labyrinthian side-projects that only managed to add 12 more layers to the mess, and ideas that were seemingly forgotten as soon as they were proposed. (Anyone remember that plan to tent out overnight on Wisconsin Avenue?) Could it be that a perfectly fine but perhaps underwhelming public art project was being blown of out proportion and obscured through the use of lame marketing lingo and reheated buzzwords?

To find out, Milwaukee Record assigned a crack team of translators to pour over yesterday’s press release from the GMC, announcing the summer programming for the “Creational Trails.” Though our team came highly versed in Latin, Aramaic, and Spanish treasure maps found in your dad’s attic, they still had trouble with some particularly overwrought passages. Below you’ll find each paragraph of the original press release, followed by approximate Milwaukee Record translations.

1. Original: Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), NEWaukee and beintween, with project adviser MKE<->LAX, announce summer programming for their Creational Trails project, funded by ArtPlace America. The two segments of Creational Trails – West Wisconsin Ave. (“The Avenue”) and the Beerline Trail (“the artery”) – launch programming and new initiatives beginning in June.

Translation: Some stuff will be happening on West Wisconsin Avenue and the Beerline Trail in June.

2. Original: “Creative placemaking through projects like Creational Trails has the power to transform Milwaukee by activating space and encouraging the acceptance of growth and cultural diversity,” said GMC president Julia Taylor. “This extensive collaboration between the nonprofit sector, the City of Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee Development Corporation (WAM-DC), Riverworks, and more partners proves that creative placemaking is seen as an effective way to encourage diversity and incorporate arts and culture into the architecture of space.”

Translation: “Ye intruders beware…”

3. Original: Programming along The Avenue begins Sunday, June 14th with a public installation of the works of Ayla Boyle and Paul Bestul on West Wisconsin Avenue. This and other installations come as a result for the public call for installations and activations by the GMC and NEWaukee in late 2013, when the community vetted hundreds of submissions and the top ten finalists pitched at City Hall during a public Tournavation. Partners for The Avenue project include the City of Milwaukee, WAM-DC and Riverworks.

Translation: Some public art will be installed on West Wisconsin Avenue June 14.

4. Original: Bestul’s Moiré Paillion will be located on the empty lot of 4th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue, and Boyle’s Dream Catcher will attach between the Federal Building and the Boston Lofts.

Translation (extra research needed): Wood and steel shelters will be installed on that empty lot on Wisconsin and 4th. Some industrial bungee cords will be stretched across the street nearby.

5. Original: “Creational Trails is a community-based project for the experimentation of public space and the way in which we all currently use it,” explained Jeremy Fojut, chief idea officer of NEWaukee. “We encourage folks to participate in the transformation of an empty lot into a public market square.”

Translation: “…crushing death and grief…”

6. Original: Following the installation, NEWaukee will present a series of night markets in the Moiré Pavilion on the third Wednesday of each month starting July 16, 2014. Each night market will feature live performances, local art and craft vendors, as well as interactive tech installations and food vendors. Other artists featured include John Riepenhoff, Polypane, Bucketworks, School Factory, Daniel Fleming, Ayzha Fine Arts Gallery, Sarah Luther, Paul Druecke and Evelyn Patricia Terry.

Translation: Okay, so the thing on West Wisconsin Avenue is an outdoor concert/craft fair series? At night? Got it. The concert/craft fairs happen every third Wednesday of the month, starting July 16.

7. Original: Along the artery, beintween is partnering with the City of Milwaukee, Riverworks Development Corporationand the GMC to produce the artery at the Beerline Trail Extension as an 8-acre linear park of interactive installations, edible landscapes and ecological design. The first installation, matireal, began the activation of the corridor by opening up the bridge over Capitol Drive near N. 3rd St. for safe and accessible pedestrian and bike traffic. Beintween then transitioned to building the ICAN2 LABS, a prototype shipping container which was converted into project-based learning space where expert facilitators will teach design techniques and engage residents of all ages and cultures in the process of planning the future of the artery’s development. ICAN2 LABS collaborators include the School Factory and Tyrone Dumas. Beginning in May, some of Milwaukee’s best youth and community educators will facilitate workshops at the ICAN2 LABS.

Translation: “…soaked with blood…of the trespassing thief.”

8. Original: Next, beintween and its partners will host a series of festivals orchestrated by Dasha Kelly on June 28th, July 26th and August 30th, featuring safe, family fun and the opportunity to bring residents together for entertainment and to plan for the future of the artery. Artists include Ina Onilu Drum and Dance Ensemble, Annushka Peck with Holton Youth + Family Center and Milwaukee Public Theatre, Chef Marvin Jones and STITCH.

Translation: Some family-friendly outdoor parties will be held June 28, July 26, and August 30 on the Beerline Trail.

9. Original: Additionally, beintween will activate the artery over the summer with a changing mural, collaborating with local artist Vedale Hill, and produce additional pieces of artwork and ecological landscaping to shape a once-forgotten space into a place full of life and creative expression generated from its residents.

Translation: There will be a mural on the Beerline Trail.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

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