A new mural is in the works in Westown and the organizers – Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, in partnership with the Downtown Placemaking Task Force – are seeking submissions.
The Gateway Mural project aims to install an 80-x-50-foot mural this summer on the west wall of 622 W. Wisconsin Ave., which faces the surface parking lot that replaced the Norman Apartments, which burned in 1991.
The Gateway Mural is the latest in a series of public art projects that have come from the Downtown Placemaking Task Force, which aims to enrich the Downtown landscape and boost connectivity and walkability.
The painting of the Jefferson Street tunnel between St. Paul Avenue and Clybourn Street and the painting of portraits on utility boxes along Wisconsin Avenue are other examples of the task force’s work to date.
"The Gateway Mural project will be a district-defining art installation and a true statement of the renaissance taking place in Westown," said Westown Association Executive Director Stacie Callies. "We’re excited to have this soon-to-be iconic image at the doorstep of the central business district."
Applications must be submitted to Gabriel Yeager by Friday, April 19, and the finalist will be selected in early May.
The neighborhood will be asked to weigh in on the final design.
Installation is slated to begin in mid-June and will be funded by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, Wisconsin Avenue Property, LLC, a City of Milwaukee's Community Improvement Project grant, Westown Association and Interstate Parking.
"There’s renewed energy and unparalleled opportunities on Wisconsin Avenue," said Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 CEO Beth Weirick. "We couldn’t have selected a more vibrant or impactful location. The Gateway Mural will welcome the thousands of residents, workers, students and visitors who travel the Avenue on a daily basis. We’re excited to delight them with new public art."
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.