By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 09, 2024 at 11:26 AM

After a long process, ThriveOn Collaboration has named the artists whose work will be integrated into the first floor of the community hub currently being developed in the former Schuster’s/Gimbels building at 2153 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

Although the specifics works have not yet been unveiled – some of it is still in the process of being created – the works are expected to be installed early in 2024, in collaboration with Greenwood Park Art Gallery and Guardian Fine Art Services.

These are the artists:

  • Bolanle Awosika
  • Reginald Baylor Studio
  • Brad Anthony Bernard
  • Fondè Bridges
  • Olivia (LIV) Burks
  • Nehemiah Edwards
  • Reynaldo Hernandez & Rozalia Singh
  • Vedale Hill
  • Kristine Hinrichs
  • Deva Houston
  • Mutòpe J. Johnson
  • John Kowalczyk
  • La Familia de Arte
  • Mene Muhammad (RazitoZulu)
  • Ras ‘Ammar Nsoroma & Adjua Nsoroma
  • Rosy Petri
  • Isaic Pulliam
  • Evelyn Patricia Terry
  • Rakim Wil

In addition to 90 mixed-income apartments, the ThriveOn King building will have the community engagement programs of collaboration partners Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, as well as the Malaika Early Learning Center, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin and the offices of JobsWork MKE.

There will also be meeting spaces available to the community, along with gathering and collaboration areas, bike parking, a playground, fitness center and a 355-space parking structure.

We shared an update on the development’s progress last autumn.

The artwork, according to organizers, will be in a range of mediums, including textiles, painting, sculpture, tilework and more.

 “Enthusiasm for incorporating arts and culture into the building has been high among residents from the very beginning, and we have been listening,” said Darlene C. Russell, director of community engagement for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

“We are excited to be able to start showing the community how their perspective is being honored and their ideas are being represented in a tangible way.”

The artists were selected in a process that began in 2019 with community collaboration and continued in 2022 with an information session for interested artists and visioning sessions with residents.

A call for artists followed last March, seeking creators with strong Milwaukee ties.

Submissions were selected by an art review committee of community members along with the ThriveOn Collaboration’s art project team.

“It was very important that our process for selecting the art was carefully attentive to the rich history of the community,” said Staci Young, PhD, senior associate dean for community engagement at the MCW School of Medicine.

“We took the time to thoroughly discuss the submissions, recognizing that artists put considerable effort into their work. We wanted the results to showcase their gifts and talents for the community's benefit.”

Artwork was selected based on what a statement called, “a desire for art that is welcoming, representative and imbues a sense of discovery in the gathering spaces that will define the ThriveOn King experience. The chosen art will convey a cohesive narrative arc reflecting the values and priorities of the community, (including) respecting and preserving the culture and history of Bronzeville; honoring the vitality and community connections present today, and celebrating youth and the promise of a thriving future.”

“Anyone who enters ThriveOn King is going to feel an immediate sense of belonging, because the art selected through this process truly represents what matters most to the community,” said Sande Robinson, ThriveOn Art Review Committee member.

“The caliber of participating artists also makes this effort incredibly special. Having the works of so many respected and accomplished creative minds all in one place, contributing to one collective story is extraordinary.”

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 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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.