Thursday, August 7, 2014

Art Bus Tour

I've been trying to learn more about Milwaukee for a book I'm writing.  I realized I knew very little about the whole arts scene, since I'm not artistic in any sense of the word.  After googling the topic, I found that there was a whole lot going on that I wasn't aware of before; lessons, galleries, tours, events, and even an art bus tour.  So I signed up.  What a fun couple of hours it turned out to be.  Not only did I get to see some local art with the artists who did the work, I got to meet many interesting people.  I also found out about some new places that I want to explore.  The more I know about Milwaukee, the deeper it gets into my soul.  I really love this small city with a big personality.

Adam Carr led the tour on a school bus from AWE headquarters
 The tour was done through an organization I love anyway- Artists Working in Education (AWE).  For a small fee, you could sign up through Eventbrite for a tour that included transportation, outdoor artwork in neighborhoods, and food.  I might mention that eventbrite is a great way to find out about events where you live.  AWE does the summer parks program where they bring a van and talented people to work with kids for several hours each day.  My son and grandson have done it before and loved it.  I'm frankly amazed at the level of projects they are able to create with kids.  They even proved that we adults could have fun doing an art project by bringing us to Washington Park in Milwaukee where they taught us to make an accordion style booklet that we could use to record our thoughts for the day.
At Washington park we worked with artists to make our own project
Adam Carr was the guide for the bus tour.  He's a local personality who is always spearheading some up and coming interesting project, the latest which has been "Listening to Mitchell", which you can learn more about at the Urban Milwaukee website where they feature his project.  Our first project took us to Mitchell park where artist John Kowalczyk met us.  He worked with local kids who frequent the park to create a colorful wall using fabric and paint.  We drove through the neighborhood and several other interesting projects were shown.  We learned how vacant lots are being transformed into pocket parks where people can gather and grow food.  We even visited the former home of former Mayor John Norquist, which now has a pottery studio in the carriage house.  When I thought it couldn't possibly get better, we stopped at the Asian International Market and El Senorial, where our host picked up egg rolls and tacos which were fantastic!  We had a picnic in one of the pocket parks.  Overall it was a great experience.  I'd recommend anyone to look for some local tours and learn more about where you live!
John Kowalczkyk and the Mitchell Park mural
Mural on a Milwaukee building


Frank Lloyd Wright homes 

House turned unofficial art gallery

pocket park with garden beds
This used to be John Norquist's home

The upstairs of the carriage house is used for ceramics and throwing pottery