By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 09, 2011 at 1:01 PM

When the educational program at Dover Street School moved at the end of the last school year to a nearby building it shares with the Tippecanoe program, the 1889-vintage Bay View school building is the site of a planned neighborhood arts center.

According creative director Kellie Krawczyk, The Hive at Dover will be a community collaborative arts center.

"The whole idea for an arts center began when art, music and gym were eliminated from many of our neighborhood schools," she says in a video tour of the building. "So a group of us volunteers got together and (created) a plan."

Among the highlights of the plan are:

  • Nearly two dozen rooms available for rent to arts non-profits and individuals.
  • A main office from which The Hive will be managed. But the former school office will also contain office equipment available to tenants in the building at no cost.
  • A Hive Lounge with tables and chairs, a library of art history and how-to art books, coloring books and crayons for kids, free wi-fi and, perhaps, a coffee and tea bar. "It's meant to be a gathering space and resource center and is free and open to anyone," says Krawczyk.
  • A donation center to collect art and craft supplies for use in the public art studios. The space will also function as a thrift store to sell surplies supplies to help support the project.
  • The Gymnatorium – school's former top-floor gym and auditorium, with a stage and projection screen – will be leased by the hour for public and private events and performances.
  • A public art studio where students can come and make one of several prepared art projects for free or a minimal fee. There will also be scheduled kids and adult classes, drop-in hours, room available for rent. Laura Makula-Zimmerman, creative director of The Hive's public arts studio, notes in the video that, "Teachers and volunteers will be available to answer questions, to guide students and to give support with supplies."

The public spaces in The Hive will be open to the community at no cost, but, says, Krawczyk, there will be advantages to buying a membership. The specifics of those benefits have not yet been solidified.

The building has not yet been purchased from the district, though a potential model for the sale might be seen in the sale of Garfield School last for for $1 to community members who will turn it into a neighborhood center, says School Board Director Meagan Holman, who represents the district in which Dover is located.

"The superintendent asked me about the disposition of Dover, since now that it is closed, it would have to have significant updates to be available to be used as a school building again," Holman says.

"I suggested that we look at selling it for community arts and he asked if I could identify a buyer. It was then that I approached Kellie, who has always wanted to run a community art center, and she and her talented, entrepreneurial friends ran with it."

According to Holman, more than $200,000 in grant requests are pending and revenues from facility rental and income is expected to cover costs.

Makula-Zimmerman says The Hive is "an open space that will help to ignite the creative spirit in everybody."

The Hive organizers continue to work on plans for the center, Krawczyk says, but there is no firm opening date yet. A public meeting will be held at Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay St., in Bay View, on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m.

"We want to invite everyone to participate with us," says Krawczyk. "We would love the entire community to come out and be a part of this."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 an episode of TV's "Party of Five," 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.