By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 10, 2003 at 5:16 AM

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has taken his share of criticism for killing the now infamous Blue Shirt project at the airport. Mitchell won't wear the Blue Shirt but another County Building in dire need of some art, The Courthouse, is getting some.

Walker will also begin a new Courthouse series called the County Executive Art Forums, intended to encourage dialogue and interest in public and private art. His way of endearing himself to the creative class of Milwaukee or a pr stunt? That's for you to decide.

The first in this series will come May 12 at the unveiling in the Courthouse's first floor rotunda of "Watts Happeneding," by artist Elliot Pinkney, a mural on-loan from Marquette University's Haggerty Art Museum.

Future forums will include public lectures and discussions, as well as dialogues with local and national artists.

"The County Executive Art Forums will highlight and showcase interesting and intriguing pieces of art, in the hopes of sparking dialogue and interest in public and private art in Milwaukee County," said Walker. "This display is open to the public, and I hope folks who may not have regular business in the Courthouse will make time to stop in and view the display."

"Watts Happeneding" is an 8' X 16' mural, depicting images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and city leaders from Los Angeles. The work is a commentary of events linking the Los Angeles riots of 1965 and 1992 with the present, and was created by Pinkney on-site at the Haggerty Museum as a part of the exhibition, "Watts: Art and Social Change in Los Angeles, 1965-2002."

Call (414) 278-4216 for more information.