By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 25, 2002 at 5:50 AM Photography: Bobby Tanzilo

Some local artists are using their talents to help spruce up the look of their neighborhood. The Bay View Arts Guild is in its fourth year of supporting both local artists and the Bay View Community. The guild is made up of artists -- both professional and those who practice their art for fun -- who live or work in Bay View.

"We're trying to get people together to make the community a brighter, prettier place to live," said Stacy Kaat, guild secretary and a photographer who works with Front Room Photography.

The guild began as a group of local artists who started the Bay View Arts Tour, a self-guided free tour of about 30 different galleries, businesses and restaurants showcasing the work of about 50 artists. The artists decided to organize formally, and the Bay View Arts Guild became a community organization as well as an artists group, said Anita Sarnow, one of the guild founders and a painter and faux finisher who owns Art Off the Wall gallery in Bay View.

"Becoming involved with the community was an initial seed which has grown stronger over the years," Sarnow said. "A strong community showing ties us all together."


Guild members have painted trash cans along South Kinnickinnic Avenue, submitted designs for new street signage in Bay View and may repaint the mural on the South Shore Park pavilion. They have worked with the Bay View Business Association and are working with the South Community Organization to contribute art to a local garden which grows food for Hunger Task Force.

"We're always looking for projects to help the community," Sarnow said.

For artists, the guild meets monthly to share information about what's going on in the local art community, Kaat said. The guild holds critiques and workshops for members on various topics such as getting art shown in galleries and building a portfolio.

A portfolio in which guild members can put work samples so the public -- and potential buyers -- can see them is on display at South Shore Gallery and Framing on Kinnickinnic Avenue.

Guild members run the gamut from painters and photographers to flower arrangers and sculptors. Members also include musicians, graphic designers, illustrators and art directors.

Some members are professional artists; others have just picked up art as a hobby and want to be around creative people, Kaat said. The only restriction for membership in the guild is that artists must live or work in Bay View.

"We've got a huge variety of cool artists," Sarnow said, pointing to artists like Sister Thomasina Fessler, a 90-year-old painter and sculptor whose work has been shown around the world.

On the Bay View Arts Tour, which will be held September 27-28, 2002, a variety of art -- photography, performance art, theater art, pottery, sculpture -- will be displayed. Also, at each location artists demonstrate how they practice their art.

"It's educational for the public as well," Sarnow said.

For more information about the Bay View Arts Guild, call Anita Sarnow at (414) 769-0992.