Black Cat Alley is headed west ... sort of.
Wallpapered City’s Stacey Williams-Ng, the force of artistic nature that helped make the East Side mural walk an amazing reality, is working with the Wauwatosa Tourism Commission on a series of murals on exterior walls in the East Tosa neighborhood, along West North Avenue near 68th and 69th Streets, near such popular neighborhood businesses as Rocket Baby Bakery, Cranky Al's, Il Mito and the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse.
During the course of the year, a number of murals will be painted, within walking distance of one another, according to the City of Wauwatosa web site.
"This will create a new street art destination that will pull people into the community and create even more reasons to visit Tosa," says Williams-Ng.
"Public art isn't just about beautification. That's not it at all. It's about community cohesion and storytelling. It brings people out onto the street and binds us together."
The idea for the project was launched by Ald. Joel Tilleson.
"As public art goes up, so do surrounding property values. This project will bring both local and world-class artists to Wauwatosa and will further our efforts to revitalize East Tosa," the alderman says. "It will also advance what we hope will ultimately be a North Avenue art corridor connecting Black Cat Alley at Milwaukee’s lakefront with our friends and neighbors in-between and to our west.
"I’m also pleased that this project is being done with a local consultant, with significant community involvement including school district art students and at no expense to our residential taxpayers."
"We do plan to work with some local artists and hope to work with some national or international artists as well," according to a post on the City of Wauwatosa Facebook page. "A few local artists have already reached out to us."
The specific mural sites have not yet been determined, but Williams-Ng expects that to happen in the coming week.
"We can't quite say which buildings yet because all the contracts haven't been signed with building owners," she says. "We want to release the call to artists next week, but usually in the call to artists you provide a photo of the walls."
Funding for the project comes from hotel/motel, not property, taxes, notes the Tosa Facebook post.
"East Tosa has evolved into a destination neighborhood and a highly sought area for housing," says neighborhood resident and former Ald. Bobby Pantuso.
"It’s because it’s cool and hip here. It’s human nature to want to be a part of that. Projects like these murals only increase the cool/hip factor and increase the neighborhood's value, not only monetarily but in reputation, as well"
Artists who would like to be considered for the project should contact Melissa Weiss, Director of Administrative Services, at email@example.com.
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.