On Thursday evening, Jan. 17, the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago St., will dedicate a new two-story stainless steel abstract sculpture.
The shiny sculpture, which might suggest ocean waves or the feathers of a bird, stands on a grassy area on the center’s west side, facing Jackson Street, in the Third Ward, which was once Milwaukee’s Little Italy, a landing spot for many newly arrived immigrants.
The sculpture – called "New Beginnings" – was designed by Joseph Mangiamele, president of the Mangiamele Arts Foundation. It is, he said, dedicated to immigrants of all nationalities and races who came to America.
Milwaukee's Gallas Metalworks fabricated the work based on Mangiamele's prototype.
The 95-year-old Mangiamele – a longtime ICC member – is Professor Emeritus of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked as an urban designer in both the U.S. and Great Britain.
He launched his eponymous foundation, he said, "to make Milwaukee an art center. And in doing so, help organize the art activities of the Metropolitan area so as to strengthen art as a form in Milwaukee."
Dedication of "New Beginnings" – which will be mounted atop a concrete base and lighted – is slated for 6:45 p.m.
"The members of our organization are very grateful to Joe Mangiamele and his foundation for this generous gift of art, which will, no doubt, make the ICC a focal point in our community for art aficionados and tourists to our city," said ICC President Joseph T. Emanuele.
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.