Filmmaker John Ridley unveils plans for creative arts hub in The Brewery complex

A rendering of No Studios, 1037 West McKinley Ave.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

Filmmaker and Milwaukee native John Ridley unveiled plans Tuesday for No Studios, the creative arts hub planned for The Brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee.

A rendering of No Studios, 1037 West McKinley Ave.

Ridley, whose work includes the Academy Award-winning film “12 Years a Slave,” is spearheading the effort to redevelop the 40,000-square-foot building at 1037 West McKinley Ave. into a space that’s dedicated to the creation and presentation of art.

The hub, which will be called ‘No Studios,’ will offer long-term and short-term office space for individuals, organizations and companies in creative fields. It will also include a 50-seat screening room, food and beverage services, galleries and a rooftop event space.

No Studios will open in September with a weekend of programs, including film screenings and discussions, dance and music performances, readings and art exhibitions.

Lisa Caesar, Ridley’s sister who has worked with him on the project, announced in November the hub’s tenants, including Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance, 371 Productions, Custom Reality Services and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Film. Marquette University has also signed on as a tenant, organizers announced Tuesday.

Rendering of a work space in No Studios.

Milwaukee Film will occupy an entire floor in the building and is slated to move in this spring.

UWM’s film, video, animation and new genres department will occupy nine rooms on the building’s third floor, with plans to move the UWM Film Professional Practice program, internship program and documentary media center, doc|UWM, from the Peck School of the Arts building at 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd. to the new hub.

Ridley stressed that No Studios is designed as a for-profit venture.

“We are for-profit because we do not want to try to intrude on the space of all the not-for-profits who are writing grants, who are looking for funds, who are doing such good work and are embedded here,” Ridley said.

He said the name for No Studios was inspired by the obstacles that artists often face in their creative pursuits, as well the Japanese word “no,” which means skill, talent and artistic endeavor.

“No is a word that all of us hear too much in life,” Ridley said. “And I think art in particular is forged against the word ‘no.’”

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