After a thoughtful search for a new home for its regional art center and marketplace, the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN), has announced it signed a 10-year lease at the Lofts on Broadway, 191 N. Broadway, in the Historic Third Ward.
The organization will take possession of the 5,200-square foot, street-level storefront on Oct. 14. This location is currently occupied by the home furnishings store Elements East.
Earlier this summer, MARN received a $3 million grant from the Anonymous Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The grant enabled the organization to fulfill its long-desired objective of opening a new facility to accommodate a gallery, event space, and a retail storefront.
"MARN’s objective was to develop a collaborative destination for artists and arts organizations in Milwaukee and the region. By being here in the Historic Third Ward, we found a location that brings the highest possible levels of opportunity to artists and their work," said Mal Montoya, president & CEO of MARN.
"From the word ‘go,’ this has been about the artists and what it would mean to have some of the highest foot traffic counts in the entire city literally walking by our new center every day. In addition to expanded programming and workshops, MARN looks to incorporate innovation and technology throughout, adding a new resource library, coffee bar and retail area. This new marketplace component far exceeds what we’ve previously offered local artists through our network. It’s very exciting for MARN to be in position to introduce a truly unique brick and mortar destination that heretofore didn’t exist."
In looking at the Historic Third Ward neighborhood, research showed a once vibrant local arts community had given way to high end boutiques, national tenants, and restaurants. This grant will allow MARN to plant a flag where it previously couldn’t.
"With this move, MARN will weave more local creatives into the fabric that is the Historic Third Ward," said Montoya.
MARN will now turn to creating a conducive environment that places the focus on art and the artists.
"We are working with Amy Carmen Design to provide a comprehensive, functional design aesthetic that will be a showcase of innovation, exhibition, and connection, for local artists of all cultural backgrounds and artistic discipline," said Pamela Anderson, MARN board chair. "Our design team has one primary directive: our new home must be for and about the artists. It’s also imperative that everyone who produces and appreciates the arts feels invited and welcomed at MARN."
After looking at preliminary renderings, Anderson noted, "approximately two-thirds of the interior will be dedicated to showcasing artists. With a new state-of-the-art gallery, soundstage and marketplace, this facility will add to the growing arts and culture scene here in Milwaukee."
In addition to the gallery, retail area and event space, the renderings for this multi-purpose facility also show administrative offices, resource library with a coffee bar, and a working studio space for MARN’s artist residency program.
"We are thrilled to be working with MARN to find their new home," said Nathan Bernstein, of Joseph Property Development, LLC. "After our first meeting, we felt it would be a big victory for the Historic Third Ward to have MARN in a prominent location on Broadway. We’re looking forward to welcoming a great new cultural partner to the Third Ward."
Jim Plaisted, Executive Director of the Historic Third Ward Association mentioned, "The MARN relocation to the 100 block of Broadway is great news for the Arts in the Historic Third Ward. The storefront location will add to the vitality and vibrancy of Broadway in the heart of our neighborhood."
MARN will announce grand opening plans including a reunion of former Board members in the coming months.
MARN - Milwaukee Artist Resource Network
Founded in 2000, the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN), a 501(c)3, provides those within our creative economy resources needed to cultivate a sustainable art practice.
MARN empowers literary, performing, and visual artists with access to educational and professional resources and creates a network for communication and collaboration. MARN’s membership programming efforts focus on adult education linked with career-building opportunities, business development, and public engagement.
For nearly 20 years, MARN has been dedicated to strengthening our local communities by improving the lives of artists and increasing the public’s understanding of the value of art. With the support of public and private funding, MARN brings critical dialogue, engaging programming, and resources to professional and emerging artists, art appreciators and supporters.