Do you like murals? Of course you do. And so does Milwaukee. Yes, the city is currently in the throes of a great mural renaissance. A Muralssance? Muraissance? Whatever. All you need to know is that there are 8,000 new murals popping up every day.
MURAL WATCH #1: On Thursday, October 24 at 10 a.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the city’s newest mural, “Heart & Sol.” The 5,000-square-foot mural is the work of ever-busy local artist Mauricio Ramirez (he of downtown utility box fame), and is found on the east-facing facade of the Community Advocates, Inc. building, next to the parking lot at 601 W. Wells St. “Heart & Sol” depicts “two young female figures, portraying the optimism for our city’s future through the illustration of youth.”
“Large-scale mural art is certainly thriving in downtown Milwaukee,” says Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, in a press release. “Seeing artists interact with community members on these types of projects has bolstered a sense of pride throughout Westown, while also reinforcing the neighborhood’s identity as a vibrant place to live, work and play.”
Fun fact: “Heart & Sol” is on the same block as the flowery “Gateway Mural” that debuted this past July. Small world! Here’s a video and the whole press release:
Mauricio Ramirez wraps up large-scale mural on Community Advocates, Inc. building in heart of downtown Milwaukee’s Westown neighborhood
Community encouraged to help artist paint Tuesday and Wednesday; Ribbon-cutting ceremony slated for Thursday
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Oct. 21, 2019) – Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, with financial support from Community Advocates, Inc. and a grant from the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC) – Community Improvement Project (CIP) program, has commissioned local artist Mauricio Ramirez for a new mural on the east-facing façade of the Community Advocates, Inc. building, adjacent to the parking lot at 601 W. Wells St. The colorful mural will feature two young female figures, portraying the optimism for our city’s future through the illustration of youth. The approximate size of the mural is nearly 5,000 square feet.
The new mural, titled “Heart & Sol,” was inspired by the completion of Milwaukee Downtown’s most recent mural project in July, “Westown in Bloom” by local artist Emma Daisy Gertel. Located at Wisconsin Avenue and James Lovell Street, this gateway mural into Westown is located on the same block as the new “Heart & Sol” mural. A neighborhood engagement session was hosted at Community Advocates, Inc. on Monday, Oct. 7 and community members are encouraged to participate in painting the mural with the artist on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 22 & 23 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting.
“Large-scale mural art is certainly thriving in downtown Milwaukee,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. “Seeing artists interact with community members on these types of projects has bolstered a sense of pride throughout Westown, while also reinforcing the neighborhood’s identity as a vibrant place to live, work and play.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. in the parking lot at 601 W. Wells St. The program will feature brief remarks by project leaders, including Alderman Bob Bauman; Andi Elliott, CEO of Community Advocates, Inc.; Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21; and the artist, Mauricio Ramirez. Guests are encouraged to socialize with neighbors, before and after the program, and enjoy live music and complimentary donuts and coffee, courtesy of Dunkin’. If weather is inclement, the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be rescheduled for Friday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m.
Mauricio Ramirez is known for his 10 utility box murals along Wisconsin Avenue, another project commissioned by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 in 2017. Mauricio has since completed four large-scale mural projects throughout Milwaukee, including Walker’s Point, East Side, Cesar Chavez Drive and South Milwaukee.
MURAL WATCH #2: This summer, German artist Andreas von Chrzanowski—a.k.a. CASE, a.k.a. Case Maclaim—was chosen to paint a mural on the north face of the Dye House building at 320 E. Buffalo Street. According to a press release, “the structure was originally built for a hosiery company in the 1920s, and Case Maclaim’s mural will pay homage not only to the women who used to dye nylons there, but to the many women who work in the Historic Third Ward today and to working people everywhere. The model for the mural is an entrepreneur who works in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward today.”
And yet the mural’s absence of a head—not uncommon in Maclaim’s work, it should be noted—rubbed some people the wrong way. The owners of BlackPaint Studios blasted the image and the male-dominated Third Ward Architectural Review Board. Now, they’ve prepared a short documentary on having one of their murals rejected back in 2016. The doc will play during the in-progress Milwaukee Film Festival, ahead of each showing of the feature-length film We Are The Radical Monarchs. Here’s a trailer and a full press release:
THE GODDESS OF FIERCE PROTECTION TELLS THE STORY OF THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD MURAL THAT NEVER WAS
Micro-documentary to screen at the Milwaukee Film Festival on October 26th, 27th and 30th
MILWAUKEE | October 22, 2019 — Five months before the 2016 presidential election, just as political interference with women’s health care decisions was ramping up across the country, BlackPaint Studios was asked to paint a mural on Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s headquarters building in celebration of their 80th anniversary.
Before starting the mural, the artists had to get approval from the City of Milwaukee’s Third Ward Architectural Review Board. In the deliberation meeting, several members of that male-dominated committee appeared visibly agitated by the artwork, calling it too “overwhelming” and suggesting the artists make the figure smaller.
The Goddess never made it onto that building.
But just like Planned Parenthood, just like women all over the country, she wouldn’t go away and she wouldn’t be quiet. Not long after, the Goddess was video bombed on the space where she was meant to be painted. And in the years since, she’s appeared all over the country — from women’s marches to inside Planned Parenthood health centers — becoming a symbol of the rise of divine feminine power the whole world is now experiencing.
A new documentary short, The Goddess of Fierce Protection, includes footage from the 2016 Architectural Review Board meeting and will premier at the Milwaukee Film Festival before each showing of the feature-length film We Are The Radical Monarchs:
Saturday, October 26 | 5:45pm | Oriental Theater
Sunday, October 27 | 12:30pm | Jan Serr Studio Cinema
Wednesday, October 30 | 4:15pm | Avalon Theater
The Goddess of Fierce Protection tells the story of an unexpectedly meaningful artwork as it travels a parallel and often converging path to that of the latest fight for reproductive freedom and the mass awakening of everyday women stepping into their power. The film is directed by Laura Dyan Kezman and Katie Mullen. It was produced by Kezman’s new film production company, LionArt Media, in partnership with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and BlackPaint Studios.