Wisconsin Avenue sculpture project gaining momentum

Large pieces of artwork could line downtown street this summer

Street sculpture in the Netherlands

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm

A group being led by Marcus Corp. chairman Steve Marcus hopes to bring 20 large-scale sculptures to Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee this summer.

Street sculpture in the Netherlands
Street sculpture in the Netherlands

Sculpture Milwaukee, has been in the works for several years, but is gaining momentum, said Beth Weirick, chief executive office of the Downtown Business Improvement District.

The project will be curated by Russell Bowman, who directed the Milwaukee Art Museum for nearly 20 years. Bauman is currently working to secure commitments from art galleries from around the world for the sculptures, some of which will be two to three-stories tall, Weirick said.

The budget for the project has not yet been finalized.

“We’re hoping to finalize the art in the coming months,” Weirick said. “The art will come in from consignment and will be available for sale. A percentage of the commissions will fund the project as an annual event.”

The sculptures will line Wisconsin Avenue from June through October from O’Donnell Park to Sixth Street.

The artwork is the latest in the Downtown BID’s beatification efforts. In February, the BID issued a “request for creativity,” asking artists to submit mural ideas for utility boxes along Wisconsin Avenue. The winners will be selected in late April and installation of the artwork is expected in June.

“So many of our colleagues across the country are engaged in public art,” Weirick said. “It is something that we hadn’t gotten into but with so much activity going on Wisconsin Avenue from the foot to Marquette’s campus, our time is here.”

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