Today, The Milwaukee Public Library announced the commission award for a public art installation outside of the new East Branch, currently under construction.
Milwaukee multimedia artist Ray Chi has been selected to create art on North Cramer Street and East North Avenue that will reflect the ideas of community, literature, storytelling and learning.
"I am truly honored to have been selected for this public art commission," Chi said. "I have called this city 'home' for the past 16 years and have always considered the East Library to be ‘my library.’ I feel a special sense of duty to give back to this place that has given so much to me and my family over the years. It is my hope that this artwork will help rekindle a sense of wonder in all of us, and open our eyes and minds to the potential for beauty to reveal itself in every aspect of our daily lives."
"Ray Chi’s idea is deceptively simple," said 3rd District Ald. Nik Kovac, a member of the selection committee and Library Board of Trustees. "The mundane objects we walk around, between, and upon will suddenly—but also forever—come alive on the northeast corner of Cramer and North. The bike racks will dance, the grassy tree borders will buck and the sidewalk will rise."
Chi, an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was one of four artists who were selected by the Pubic Art Selection Committee. MPL sent out a "Call for Artists" in November 2013 and receive a total of 22 submissions. Each of the four artists chosen out of the initial pool of submissions presented their project proposal to the committee on Feb. 4.
"The community is lucky to have such a deep and diverse pool of talented people who care so much about improving our urban spaces," Library Director Paula Kiely said.
"As an anchor institution in the community, it is important that we create spaces that encourage collaboration and dialogue and enhance the appeal of the area and the neighborhood," Kiely added. "Ray’s work of art will heighten our sense of surroundings and interaction."
The construction of the East Library is underway. The library will be set to open this fall. You can check out the construction progress on The Milwaukee Public Library's official Facebook page.
For more information on Ray Chi and his work that varies from furniture and film to public art, visit ray-chi.com.