By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 21, 2021 at 1:01 PM

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks have teamed on a public art project that celebrates the city’s diverse communities.

The Art of Flavor is a mural initiative featuring four artists – including former Bucks star Desmond Mason, Tia Richardson, Aisha Valentin and Ruben Alcantar – who have been commissioned to create murals around the city.

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Tia Richardson's Harambee mural.
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Mason played for the Bucks from 2003 until 2005 and again during the 2007-08 season.

The artists also painted barrels that are being auctioned to raise money for nonprofits.

“Being an artist is more than creating beautiful visuals," said the former NBA player turned artist. "It’s about telling a story through captivating imagery and ensuring that every color and pattern has the intention to tell that story."

In addition to taking inspiration from Brew City culture and history, the works also draw on the flavors of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Apple and Tennessee Fire.

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Aisha Valentin's mural in Walker's Point.
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The murals are expected to all be complete by Thursday, July 22.

Mason’s “Unity Mural,” at 1335 N. King Dr., in Bronzeville, used the flavors of Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Apple and Tennessee Fire to create a work that spotlights unity across Milwaukee.

Well-known local muralist Richardson took inspiration from Tennessee Honey for her Harambee mural at 2377 N. Holton Ave. that captures the spirit of the Black community.

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Richardson's barrel.
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Muralist and graphic designer Valentin captures the (Tennessee) Fire to salute the pride of Milwaukee’s LGBTQIA community in her mural on the side of Walker's Pint, at 818 S. 2nd St. in Walker’s Point. According to her Instagram account, her rainbow Fear the Deer whiskey barrel is being auctioned to benefit the LGBTQIA community here.

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Valentin's barrel.
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Tattoo artist and mural painter Alcantar – who painted the Giannis “Respect” mural on The Highbury in Bay View last year – takes inspiration from Tennessee Apple for his mural at 631 S. 6th St. in Walker’s Point that salutes the city’s Latino history and culture.

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Ruben Alcantar's Walker's Point mural.
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Alcantar's barrel.
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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.