The beautiful-yet-austere Milwaukee County Courthouse is in the process of getting adorned with lively, colorful murals by talented Milwaukee artists.
Funded by philanthropist and former county executive Chris Abele, the mission of the project is to not only bring life into the building, but diversity as well.
"We wanted to create a welcoming and inclusive space at the courthouse. These works were born out of the vision of Milwaukee County that by achieving racial equity, Milwaukee will be the healthiest county in Wisconsin," says courthouse director of communications, Rae Johnson.
Because of COVID-19, some of the murals could not get started or completed by the deadline, thus they are on hold or still in progress. Eventually, however, it's expected there will be 6-8 new wall-sized works.
Recently, members of the Latinas Unidas eN las Artes (LUNA), which is an artist collective dedicated to empowering the local Latinx artist community in Milwaukee, completed their commissioned mural, Nuestra Madre Justicia (Our Mother Justice), located on the first floor of the Courthouse.
The COVID outbreak limited the painting process, requiring participating artists Lauren Medina, Katie Avila Loughmiller, Whitney Salgado, Debbie Sajnani, Irma Román and Taylor Herrada to take shifts working on it to ensure good health.
"The actual painting part was such a great experience," says Loughmiller. "So many different people walked by, from the cleaning crew to lawyers to people at the courthouse for all different reasons, and many stopped to ask questions or share their stories of justice."
Medina created the original image which is a version of the classic Lady Justice image featuring a blindfolded woman holding a scale and a sword. In Medina’s rendering, Lady Justice has butterflies around her face in lieu of a blindfold. "This conveys her ability to really see people for who they are and not the color of their skin," she says.
Medina says the mural’s "jungle"-esque background represents an ever-changing legal landscape or what many people of color have to navigate to get through the legal system.
"There’s a lot behind the image, but we also hope it brightens people’s day," says Loughmiller.
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Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.