In conjunction with the FS19 Groundwork conference, The Furniture Society partnered with two local organizations: HOME GR/OWN an initiative working to transform neighborhoods in Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) Teen Internship Program, connecting teens with practicing artists to address issues important to their community. During the span of the conference, attendees used unique and surprising materials to construct benches designed by Madison, Wisconsin artist, Tom Loeser, for the Victory Over Violence park. Along with Heather McCalla and Heath Matysek-Snyder, local Milwaukee artist Christopher Brooks helped facilitate the construction of the project during the conference. Benches begun during the conference continued to be worked on by teens in the MAM program, who completed the bench build-out and developed signage describing the process and impact this project has on the park.
Watch CBS segment on Craft for a Greater Good benches HERE.
VICTORY OVER VIOLENCE (VOV) PARK PROJECT
Tim McCollow works in the City of MKE’s Environmental Collaboration Office and runs the Mayor’s HOME GR/OWN initiative. They convert vacant lots into farms, community gardens, orchards and parks and rehab city commercial corridors. HOME GR/OWN has completed over 30 projects citywide.
Victory Over Violence Park is well known throughout Milwaukee. For years, the site was a vacant lot, and had become one of the most dangerous and violent areas of the central city where multiple shootings, muggings, and assaults were reports. Almost 20 years ago, Charles Hausmann, Linder Law LLC, and Jeanetta Robinson, Career Youth Development, came together to transform the space into a gathering place for community members. Although much of the work was completed in the 1990’s, the space continues to require care, attention, and maintenance. This iteration of the VoV park restoration is focused on creating engaging places for neighbors to spend time outdoors.
“Our current project partners include the MLK Drive Business Improvement District, Groundwork MKE, Bader Foundation, MSOE, WestCare, Safe & Sound, Alderwoman Coggs, Walnut Way and the family of Jeanetta Robinson, among others. The park was very overgrown and last year we did a lot of editing with Groundwork MKE’s Green Team – a link to a video about the project is here. We plan on removing trees, adding better lighting, redoing the extensive paths with asphalt (for handicapped use), and adding new seating, among other things.” ‑Tim McCollow
MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM TEEN INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The Milwaukee Art Museum Teen Internship Program addresses the issue of access to high-level arts education programs and a connection to cultural institutions by offering a summer internship for 18, 16 – 18 year old students in an environment uniquely suited to their goals. Internships at MAM expand teens’ career horizons while empowering them to recognize their strengths, follow their passion, and leverage a large cultural platform to engage their community and express their artistic voice in a meaningful way.
2019 Summer interns’ creative journeys will be by inspired by MAM’s feature exhibitions and a local issue they feel is important to address in their community. Under the direction of Shannon Molter, teens will work with contemporary artists (including Raoul Deal, James Nares, Tom Loeser, and Charles Radtke) to create public artwork; educate children; and execute public events to connect their peers and families.