By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM

A 5th grade class from Milwaukee Public Schools' Mary McLeod Bethune Academy was the first to check out the new Kohl's Education Center at the Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 N. Art Museum Dr.,  today.

The kids were at the museum from 10 a.m. until noon creating art projects and interacting in the the news spaces that are designed to spark creativity and instill an appreciation of art into kids.

In the center, children and families enter the world of art via interactive games and exhibits, and can also create their own art.

Bethune student Chris Letizke worked at a video station creating animations.

"It’s awesome," Letizke said. "I love it. When you touch it, there it is."

The center is the latest step in the Kohl's Art Generation program, now in its fourth year, and funded with a $3.7 million grant from Kohl's Department Stores and Kohl's Cares to the Milwaukee Art Museum. It opens to the public on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The program can help schools provide art education at a time their budgets for the arts are threatened.

The center comprises three spaces:

  • The Kohl's Art Generation Studio hands-on art studio, open to public on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Children and families can select from a variety of activities and projects, with options changing each month.
  • The Kohl's Art Generation Gallery, open during regular museum hours, is a kid-focused gallery that introduces the fundamentals of art. The first show, "Animation: Art Goes to the Movies," traces how today's animators draw inspiration from works of art.
  • The Kohl's Art Generation Lab, also open during regular museum hours, is allows families to explore what happens behind the scenes at a museum! They can X-ray a painting, change frames on artworks, ask questions of curators and more.
Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.