An inaugural celebration for “Visual Vibes on Villard”, a new mural corridor along Historic Villard Avenue, took place on Saturday, September 24th. Alderman Ashanti Hamilton joined vested community members and speakers from the Business Improvement District 19 at the Historic Fire House at 5151 N 35th Street, now home to the North Milwaukee Art Haus, operated by Quasimondo Physical Theatre.
“Visual Vibes on Villard”, a project undertaken by the Business Improvement District 19 and managed by Wallpapered City, LLC, celebrates the creativity, talent, and pride of the Villard community by partnering with local artists to showcase murals on Villard Avenue buildings. The murals engage themes of entrepreneurship, cultural pride, community pride, health & wellness, and environmental conservation.
A new “Little Art Library” filled with interactive coloring pages and word puzzles for children and based on the six murals, was installed as a gift from Wallpapered City staff, who presented it to the Villard BID as a token of gratitude for an important Milwaukee community. The BID will work with the Milwaukee Public Library- Villard Square Branch, to install a window gallery of completed coloring pages to be displayed in the windows similar to those placed at the Center Street Library.
“While the most exciting time during this mural installation has been seeing the incredible work of local artists unfold before our eyes, we’re even more excited to dedicate this event to celebrating the Muralists who have shared their amazing talent and given their valuable time to inspire within their own community. We would also like to thank Wallpapered City for their hard work in helping the BID pull off a project of this caliber,” said Villard BID Director Angelique Sharpe.
The Villard mural project is made possible by the following partners: Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation, Wallpapered City, Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office- ECO, Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation, Covanta Environmental Solutions, AARP of WI, and a generous gift by an anonymous donor.
MURAL LOCATIONS & ARTIST BIOS
Artist: Chacho Lopez
Mural Location: 5268 N 35th Street, Milwaukee
● Chacho Lopez, a tattoo artist at Walkers Point Tattoo Company, was born and raised in Milwaukee and resides in the Villard District with his wife and children. Raised in a proud Mexican family, Lopez attributes his development of artistic style to his father, a tattoo artist and construction worker, and his uncle who was a graffiti artist. Lopez began drawing and doing graffiti at a young age. “When I got a little older, I began doing murals and felt I had found my calling.” Lopez sees his painting as a way of giving back to his community and making his family proud.
Lopez’s mural “Protecting Our Planet” is the largest mural installation for Visual Vibes on Villard at 46’x 14’ located on the new Environmental Conservation Wall at Carter’s Christian Academy at 5268 N 35th Street. A vibrant scene of underwater ocean life, Lopez states, “It is important to teach our children about Mother Nature and the importance of protecting all animals.”
Artist: Teresa Sahar
Mural Location: 5246 N 35th St., Milwaukee
● Teresa Sahar is an artist and designer based in Whitefish Bay. New to working at the scale of her upcoming mural, Sahar says she is most excited about the prospect of having her art reach so many people through a community mural.
Sahr’s mural “Healthy Choices” is painted on two be 8’x 6’ panels featuring a woman’s hands holding an assortment of brightly colored fruit and vegetables.
Artist: Ras Ammar Nsoroma
Mural Location: 3120 W Villard Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53209
● Ras Ammar Nsoroma is a Milwaukee muralist, portraitist, and mixed media painter of African descent. His work centers around the spiritual, cultural, and political consciousness of the African Diaspora. Over the past three decades he has created dozens of murals in cities around the nation.
Nsoroma’s mural “Uhuru Sasa (Freedom Now)-Community, Culture & Commerce” painted on a 30’ x 15’ wall on the Oasis Jazz Bar & Grill building features a harmonious montage of people in community, natural elements in balance and multi-cultural symbols of renewal.
Artist: Kevin Soens
Mural Location: 5151 N 35th St., Milwaukee
Kevin Soens is a freelance artist and designer from Milwaukee who formerly taught middle school science on the southside of Milwaukee.
Soens’ mural “Old North Milwaukee Evolves Together” is painted on 24’ x 12’ panel featured on the Art Haus located at 5151 N 35th St. The design combines the industrial history of the neighborhood with a present day view of today’s leaders, and tomorrow’s workforce.
Artist: Byada Meredith
Mural Location: 3903 W Villard Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53209
Byada Meredith is a Milwaukee based artist from Thailand. Over the past decade of living in Milwaukee, Meredith has continued to expand her extensive background in art education at UW Stevens Point.
Celebrating the strength, resilience and beauty of motherhood, Meredith’s mural, “She is the rock that we embrace through storms, she is the life giving flow, she is the joy and the spirit that we breathe. She is our mother,” will be located at Motor Kings, (formerly P&P Auto Repair) at 3903 W Villard Ave and will be the second largest mural in the project measuring 35’ x 15′.
Anti Littering Campaign Artist: Briona Conway
In addition to the five murals being installed along Villard Ave., signage featuring artwork by Briona Conway is being included as part of a Villard BID Anti-Littering Campaign, bringing positive messaging to tree wells and litter receptacles in the area.
Briona Conway Briona Conway is a Wisconsin native and graduate from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Animal Science. She is currently an Emergency Medical Technician, and is the owner and operator of Grape Escape, a freelance paint and sip company. Her artwork “Floral Lungs” celebrates the healing nature of clean air, healthy lungs, and the importance of conscious breathing.