By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 01, 2020 at 10:02 AM

In late July, Wallpapered City and the Villard Avenue Business Improvement District announced a mural project for the Villard Avenue neighborhood.

On Monday, the artists selected to participate in painting five murals were announced.

Work is expected to begin on three murals later this week. Work on the last two will begin after labor day, according to Wallpapered City's Stacey Williams-Ng.

A community jury of Villard residents and the Villard Avenue BID selected the artists for the "Visual Vibes on Villard" revitalization project.

The murals will all be within walking distance of one another and celebrate entrepreneurship, cultural pride, community pride, health and wellness, and environmental conservation.

A sixth artist was selected to create a public project that brings positive messages to tree wells and trash cans in the community as part of a Villard BID Anti-Littering Campaign.

"Our vision with this project was to incorporate community input with the goals outlined by the BID to grow the cultural arts footprint in our district," said Angelique Sharpe, manager of Villard Avenue BID #19.

"This project will deliver just that. The artists selected all come from different ethnic backgrounds, which at a turbulent time where race-relations are unsettled, have all come together in a predominantly black neighborhood to promote cultural and community pride, and educate children through the form of art."

Here are the mural artists and locations, as provided by Wallpapered City:

Artist: Chacho Lopez
Location: 5268 N. 35th St.

Chacho Lopez, a tattoo artist at Walker's Point Tattoo Company, was born and raised in Milwaukee and resides in the Villard District with his wife and children. Raised in a proud Mexican family, Lopez attributes his development of artistic style to his father, a tattoo artist and construction worker, and his uncle who was a graffiti artist. Lopez began drawing and doing graffiti at a young age. "When I got a little older, I began doing murals and felt I had found my calling." Lopez sees his painting as a way of giving back to his community and making his family proud.

Lopez’s mural "Protecting Our Planet" will be the largest mural installation for Visual Vibes on Villard at 46’x 14’ located at Carter's Christian Academy at 5268 N. 35th St. A vibrant scene of underwater ocean life, Lopez states, "It is important to teach our children about Mother Nature and the importance of protecting all animals."

Artist: Teresa Sahar
Location: 5246 N. 35th St.

Teresa Sahar is an artist and designer based in Whitefish Bay. New to working at the scale of her upcoming mural, Sahar says she is most excited about the prospect of having her art reach so many people through a community mural.

Sahar’s mural "Healthy Choices" will be painted on two be 8’x 6’ panels featuring a woman’s hands holding an assortment of brightly colored fruit and vegetables.

Artist: Ras Ammar Nsoroma
Location: 3120 W. Villard Ave.

Ras Ammar Nsoroma is a Milwaukee muralist, portraitist and mixed media painter of African descent. His work centers on the spiritual, cultural and political consciousness of the African Diaspora. Over the past three decades he has created dozens of murals in cities around the nation.

Nsoroma’s mural "Uhuru Sasa (Freedom Now)-Community, Culture & Commerce" painted on a 30’ x 15’ wall on the Oasis nightclub building features a harmonious montage of people in community, natural elements in balance and multi-cultural symbols of renewal.

Artist: Kevin Soens
Location: 5151 N. 35th St.

Kevin Soens is a freelance artist and designer from Milwaukee who formerly taught middle school science on the South Side of Milwaukee.

Soens’ mural "Old North Milwaukee Evolves Together" will be painted on 24’ x 12’ panel and featured on the Art Haus located at 5151 N. 35th St. The design combines the industrial history of the neighborhood with a present day view of today’s leaders, and tomorrow’s workforce.

Artist: Byada Meredith
Location: 3903 W. Villard Ave.

Byada Meredith is a Milwaukee-based artist from Thailand. Over the past decade of living in Milwaukee, Meredith has continued to expand her extensive background in art education at UW-Stevens Point.

Celebrating the strength, resilience and beauty of motherhood, Meredith’s mural, "She is the rock that we embrace through storms, she is the life giving flow, she is the joy and the spirit that we breathe. She is our mother," will be located at Motor Kings, (formerly P&P Auto Repair) at 3903 W. Villard Ave. and will be the second largest mural in the project measuring 35’ x 15'.

Anti Littering Campaign Artist: Briona Conway

In addition to the five murals being installed along Villard Avenue, signage featuring artwork by Briona Conway is being included as part of a Villard BID Anti-Littering Campaign, bringing positive messaging to tree wells and litter receptacles in the area.

Briona Conway Briona Conway is a Wisconsin native and graduate from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Animal Science. She is currently an Emergency Medical Technician, and is the owner and operator of Grape Escape, a freelance paint and sip company. Her artwork "Floral Lungs" celebrates the healing nature of clean air, healthy lungs and the importance of conscious breathing.

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.