We are Looking for Volunteers for an Amazing Summer Project with OLEK!

We are doing a major yarn-based art installation in collaboration with the world-renowned fiber artist OLEK, who will be visiting Milwaukee this summer as a part of her journey “Love Across the USA”. We are seeking a diverse group of crocheters of all abilities—even you, beginners!— to create a monumental yarn installation during June and July that Milwaukee will never forget!

To be a part of this amazing group, please contact Judi at (262) 488-0865. ALL ages, genders, abilities. We are inclusive and welcoming to all.


Here’s a great video to demonstrate what an amazing project “Love Across the USA” is going to be… and YOU will be a part of it!



City of Wauwatosa Seeks Artists for Outdoor Murals

The City of Wauwatosa is seeking submissions from artists for its new summer project: a new corridor of outdoor murals clustered around the East Tosa area near North Avenue and 68th and 69th Streets. There will be up to six new artworks installed in a tight cluster in that area when artists are finished installing in July of this year, paid for by Wauwatosa’s Tourism Commission.


Walls identified for the project include the east-facing wall of Cranky Al’s donut shop, the west-facing wall of the Nobleman barber shop, the west-facing rear wall of Tosa Yoga, the east-facing wall of BelAir Cantina, an upper area of the west side of the historic Rosebud Cinema, and perhaps most unusually—the entirety of the Voline service Station, a classic gas station located across the street from Cranky Al’s.

The project is being led by Wallpapered City, the artist-led working group that manages Black Cat Alley and the Bay View Street Canvas project, as well as other public art projects in the area.

The Call is not limited to local artists. “We are open to having a mix of both local and national talent,” said Alderman Joel Tilleson, who has been supportive of the project from the beginning. “This project is going to be great for our community.”

Correction: A previous version of this Call for Artists PDF listed the measurement of the BelAir Cantina Wall incorrectly. The correct dimensions are 36’x12′.

Call for Artists! Deadline: March 30

Black Cat Alley to Install New Mural in April

(MILWAUKEE, WI) – On April 20-21, the public will be invited to view the unveiling of a new mural in Black Cat Alley. The East Side Business Improvement District (BID), in cooperation with Wallpapered City, a local agency specializing in public art, has issued a Call for Artists inviting any Wisconsin-based artists over the age of 18 to submit their designs.

The new mural will be installed on a north-facing segment of the back wall of the Oriental Theater, near the intersection of Kenilworth and Prospect Avenues. It will appear in the place of a previous mural by Adam Stoner entitled “Devontay,” which was defaced in 2017. The new mural will be mounted on board, rather than painted directly on the wall.*

Kristin Godfrey, Executive Director of the East Side BID, adds “We are planning many installations throughout the year, hoping to attract more visitors to the neighborhood and its businesses. Adding and celebrating new artworks in Black Cat Alley just adds value to the whole community.”

According to the Call for Artists released today by the East Side BID, the deadline for submissions is March 30, 2018. The winning Artist or Crew will receive an honorarium of $2,000 plus materials. A committee of jurors will review the submissions in March, and select a winner based on artistic merit, message and originality of design.

To arrange an interview or to request images, please contact Stacey Williams-Ng at blackcatMKE@gmail.com.

<< Download the Call for Artists PDF here >>

*Note: An earlier version of this Call for Artists specified the use of a fabric mount for the mural. This has been changed and the mural will instead be mounted on a smooth, wooden outdoor signboard, bracketed to the building.

Oh What a Feeling… Painting on the Ceiling

This week I am working on a client project for an interior mural in a suburban bookstore. The bookstore owner had a specific subject already in mind, and she was dead set on it: the goddesses of wisdom, from a variety of ancient cultures. Athena, of Greek myth, will go on the ceiling; Seshat, of Egyptian myth, will go on the wall by the door; Saraswati, the Hindu deity of wisdom, directly across from Seshat. (Athena study, below.)

It’s a tricky project for a variety of reasons. (For starters, trying to paint three mythical figures from ancient lore using one cohesive style is is a challenge.) And how to be original with such famous subjects? I ended up hiring models and doing pose sessions, and making original paintings to fit the job. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the actual execution of the mural…. I’ve never done a ceiling piece before, so I’m recording the practical things I learn here, for posterity.

Tomorrow, I will start with setup and materials. On day two, I will discuss perspective and gridding, drawing not just on this ceiling experience but also on my life as a traveling chalk artist (eg, floor painting—which has similar perspective challenges). We will see if there is a day three post, depending on what else I learn in the process!

Bay View Announces 2017 Mural Project

The Kinnickinnic Avenue BID, the non-profit organization tasked with supporting business and development along its namesake “main street” in Bay View, is proud to announce a multi-mural project on five commercial buildings on KK Avenue. Discussions are underway with several interested building owners, the final decision on locations is TBD.

The mural project is just one aspect of the Kinnickinnic Avenue street enhancement project, which aims to stimulate neighborhood growth throughout the length of the KK commercial corridor. Inspired by last year’s Black Cat Alley mural project on the East Side, the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID Board voted to set aside a portion of their streetscape budget to sponsor five local artists to create large scale murals along Kinnickinnic Avenue.

“Bay View is a hub for artists and creativity in our city and we want to reflect that in the KK Avenue streetscape,” says Mary Ellen O’Donnell, a member of the Board of Directors. “Street art is a great way to stimulate interest in a neighborhood as well as transform a harsh urban landscape with powerful and beautiful images.” Along the way, the project committee had the idea to choose an all-female roster of artists. “We were making these difficult choices right around the time of the Women’s March, earlier this year,” recalls Toni Spott, KK BID Streetscape committee member. “So many of the artists under consideration were great, and at some point we realized that an overwhelming number of them were women. We decided to make that the unifying theme of our mural project.”

The KK BID hired Wallpapered City, a Milwaukee-based agency led by Stacey Williams-Ng, to lead the project. Williams-Ng was the program director of the Black Cat Alley, and is a muralist herself. The agency was formed to help connect business owners and community groups to the international community of artists, helping with all aspects along the way such as logistics, promotions, funding and copyright negotiations.

The final roster of artists for the Bay View Street Canvas project includes Jenny Anderson, Bay View-based painter; Nova Czarnecki, Milwaukee-based painter; Rozalia Hernandez-Singh, local artist whose recent mural along the Beerline Trail celebrates the new Milwaukee flag design; Jenny Jo Kristan, muralist whose work has been featured at both Sky High Gallery (exterior wall) and the Black Cat Alley; and Dena Nord, Bay View-based artist with work featured in the Little Free Public Library project.

About the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID:
The KK BID aims to support the local businesses and community groups within our district; facilitate closer cooperation between all those who have invested their hearts, time and money into the KK Ave corridor, and encourage productive developments and enhancements along KK that embody the unique qualities that make Bay View the neighborhood we love. For more info please visit http://kkbid44.com/

About Wallpapered City LLC:
Wallpapered City is a consulting agency specializing in sourcing artists for large-scale art projects. Headed by a team of experienced professional artists, the agency connects business owners and community groups to the international community of artists, helping with all aspects along the way such as logistics, promotions, funding and copyright negotiations. For more info please visit http://wallpapered.city/

To arrange an interview with any of the artists, or to request images, contact Mary Ellen O’Donnell at meod123@gmail.com, or Stacey Williams-Ng at staceyjng@gmail.com

Black Cat Alley Opens

In what was once a dark and desolate alley space on the East Side of Milwaukee, there is now a public arts destination and it’s taking the city by storm. The Black Cat Alley, whose name is an homage to the UWM Panthers. (The Kenilworth campus is located just across the street.)

The alley, located between Prospect and Farwell Avenues, now boasts 14 murals by 16 artists in just one city block of space. The owners of the buildings have even installed lights, and a garden is forthcoming in 2017.

“We want it to be like an art gallery, so when you walk through the alley you’re bombarded with different voices and ideas,” Program Director Stacey Williams-Ng said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In July 2016, international street artist MTO painted a 50-foot-wide frog on the south wall of the Oriental Theater. MTO, a French artist known for black and white portraits with splashes of color, was commissioned to come and inaugurate the space with a world-class piece, designed especially for our city.

Sponsored by the East Side Business Improvement District (BID), which raised over $40,000 in community funding, the Black Cat Alley successfully opened on September 17-18, 2016. According to the stats on the Doors Open Milwaukee website, the site attracted nearly 4,000 visitors and was among Milwaukee’s top 10 destinations visited that weekend.

Wallpapered City would like to congratulate all the volunteers, the artists, the donors, the sponsors and everyone else who believed in this project and helped to bring it to fruition.

© Photo

Lee Matz