30 episodes

Join Elisabeth Gasparka for this conversation show from Imagine MKE, where we hear from creative leaders in Milwaukee and beyond, to highlight all the incredible transformative power of their work in our region. We hope that after listening to the pod you’ll be able to imagine Milwaukee's arts and culture ecosystem—and all the awesome artists, organizations and creative assets within it, in a new way.

Creative MKE Imagine MKE

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Join Elisabeth Gasparka for this conversation show from Imagine MKE, where we hear from creative leaders in Milwaukee and beyond, to highlight all the incredible transformative power of their work in our region. We hope that after listening to the pod you’ll be able to imagine Milwaukee's arts and culture ecosystem—and all the awesome artists, organizations and creative assets within it, in a new way.

    A Home for Milwaukee's Young Artists: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

    A Home for Milwaukee's Young Artists: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

    How might a young person’s future look different with exposure to and training in the arts? This is the proposition at the heart of the mission of Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. In this episode of Creative MKE, Elisabeth speaks with Chad Tessmer, the Executive Director at MYAC. They discuss how equitable engagement in the arts has a measurable positive impact on young people’s development—and on their entire lives. Located at the corner of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Walnut Street, MYAC is at the intersection of several Milwaukee neighborhoods including Halyard Park, Brewer’s Hill, Harambee, Schlitz Park, and The Deer District. Since its founding in 2005, the space has served as a home to First Stage and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as many other local arts organizations. 
    While MYAC is not in the business of trying to “turn every student into a performer at Carnegie Hall,” the organization seeks to give young people means to explore their voices and express themselves artistically in a safe, inclusive and professional environment. And because the employees at MYAC are creatives themselves (some of them alumni!), they believe in the promise and purpose of the institution, and “pay it forward” every day by shaping high quality and equitable access to transformative arts experiences.  
    As the organization evolves, MYAC seeks new ways to engage with young artists across their developmental trajectories in to support their creative professional development.  
    Milwaukee Youth Arts Center 
    First Stage 
    Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra  
    Danceworks 
    Festival City Symphony 
    Bel Canto Chorus 
    Frankly Music 
    Project Kindred 
    Milwaukee Children’s Choir 
    American Civil Liberties Union WI  
    Milwaukee Public Schools 
    Creative Thinking is In-Demand from Employers 
    Brit Nicole 
    Additional episode music “Forgotten" by Soundroll

    • 29 min
    Fantastic Food, Creative Collaboration, Seasonality, and Natural Wonders: MKE’s Got It.

    Fantastic Food, Creative Collaboration, Seasonality, and Natural Wonders: MKE’s Got It.

    “Cheese in different ways,” is only the beginning of Milwaukee’s compelling cultural offerings. From the astounding waters, to the presence of industrious creatives who are making things happen and helping each other to develop their skills and talents—Milwaukee is a vibrant community that continues to exceed expectations and enable a strong quality of life for creatives of all disciplines.  
    This special episode of Creative MKE features more conversations with arts leaders held at Washington Park Media Center including Angela Damiani, CEO of NEWaukee, Peggy Williams Smith, CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, Joe Poeschl, Director of Engagement of MKE Tech Hub Coalition and Kevin Giglinto, President & CEO of the Marcus Performing Arts Center, Adam Braatz, Executive Director at Imagine MKE, Lafayette Crump, the City of Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development, Daniel Murray, Founder and Creative Director of FuzzPop Workshop. 
    The group spends time envisioning what the future might look like for the city, and discussing how it’s possible today to do so much in Milwaukee without encountering barriers that exist in other cities. Founding startups and launching profitable creative businesses, while building a network of collaborators and striking a fulfilling work-life balance... it can be done here. In Milwaukee, it's possible to dream big...and our creatives are the key to pushing the culture forward. “When artists come together, that’s when the real magic arises,” reflected Kevin Giglinto, President & CEO of Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
    Marcus Center for the Performing Arts 
    MKE Tech Hub Coalition  
    VISIT Milwaukee  
    NEWaukee 
    FuzzPop Workshop 
    Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
    Milwaukee Film Festival 
    Washington Park Media Center 
    City of Milwaukee's Dept. of City Development

    • 29 min
    The Milwaukee Vortex, DIY culture, “Yes, and...” Thinking

    The Milwaukee Vortex, DIY culture, “Yes, and...” Thinking

    The Milwaukee Vortex, DIY culture, “Yes, and...” Thinking  
    In this special episode of Creative MKE, we’re sharing conversations from a special event Imagine MKE hosted at Washington Park Media Center earlier this year. The event was a gathering of arts, culture and creative industry leaders brought together to discuss the strengths and opportunities of Milwaukee’s creative culture. In the discussion, guests touch on: the waterways, walkability and park system in Milwaukee, the ease of DIY creation and collaborations and the simultaneous challenge of scarcity mindsets, and the magnetic power (or sports franchise potential?) of the “the Milwaukee Vortex.” 
    This conversation features Linda Edelstein, Chief Executive Officer of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra; Kim Miller, artist and the chair of MIAD’s fine Art Dept.; Darius Smith, Program Director, Gener8tor Art, also an artist, mental health advocate; Kantara Souffrant, Curator of Community Dialogue, Milwaukee Art Museum; Maureen Ragalie, Managing Director of Gener8tor Art; Jason Yi, professor at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, artist and gallerist at Hawthorn Contemporary; Xela Garcia, Executive Director of Walkers Point Center for the Arts, also an artist and writer; and Joe Poeschl, Director of Engagement at Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition.  
    Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra 
    Gener8tor Art 
    Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design 
    Milwaukee Art Museum  
    Hawthorn Contemporary 
    Walkers Point Center for the Arts 
    MKE Tech Hub Coalition 
    Greater Milwaukee Committee: The Commons  
    Kristina Rolander 
    Washington Park Media Center  
    Stryv365
    Additional episode music: Tiger Technique "Oakvale of Albion"; Headspace Torus "Main Version 01"

    • 29 min
    Summerfest and Henry Maier Festival Park

    Summerfest and Henry Maier Festival Park

    Summerfest and Henry Maier Festival Park  
    In this episode of Creative MKE, Elisabeth speaks with Kevin Canady, Vice President of Sales & Business Development, and Scott Ziel, Vice President of Entertainment, at Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., the organization that manages and hosts Summerfest, and books a variety of festivals and other events on the grounds throughout the year. The group reflects on how Milwaukee World Music Festival Inc stewards the unique cultural asset that is the Henry Maier Festival Park, 75 acres located on the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee. Ziel and Canady speak to the nature of Milwaukee’s festival culture, the history of Summerfest, and how the organization helps regional companies to retain and attract talent, while creating a variety of paid opportunities for local talent. Each year, Summerfest relies on hundreds of creative contractors and vendors—from professional jugglers, to sound engineers, to photographers and restauranters to make the festival all that it is.  
    Canady and Ziel shed light on the process of building Summerfest (hint: the planning begins just as soon as each festival ends). Despite changes in the music industry especially in the wake of the pandemic, Canady and Ziel and the whole team remain focused on producing and attracting events that showcase the best of Milwaukee, responding to the needs and tastes of attendees, and delivering on creative ways that an event of such enormous scale can positively impact the Milwaukee community beyond presenting affordable world-class music and entertainment.
    Milwaukee World Festival, Inc: Summerfest 
    Henry Meier Festival Park 
    Northwestern Mutual Community Park 
    Hunger Task Force 
    United Way Mary Lou’s Closet Initiative 
    Let the Music Play Grant  
    BMO EMpower  
    Generac: Power Up with a Purpose 
    American Red Cross 
    Summerfest Tech 
    American Family Insurance Ampitheatre 
    Pridefest 
    Milwaukee Irishfest 
    Mexican Fiesta 
    German Fest  
    PolishFest 
    Black Arts Fest  
    Kevin...

    • 29 min
    Championing Arts + Culture in Milwaukee

    Championing Arts + Culture in Milwaukee

    In this second portion of this discussion about the Vel R. Phillips Plaza public art commission, Elisabeth and guests City of Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development Lafayette Crump and arts leader Marilu Knode reflect on the wider context of the project.  
    Crump and Knode discuss the relevance of public art and the presence of artists to the city’s 2040 downtown plan, the power of the arts on individuals’ lives, as well as the collective power of Milwaukee’s creative industry. Knode shares specific suggestions of how the city can continue to turn the tide towards a more robust and supported creative sector: 
    A dedicated arts office within the city; a 1% Law: Art for All, and increased public support for the arts. To that, Crump adds on the need for more affordable housing for artists, so that they can live, work and contribute to Milwaukee’s culture, long-term. 
    To listen back to the first part of the conversation, stream it wherever you stream podcasts, or visit Imagine MKE on the web.  
    Milwaukee Department of City Development: Milwaukee Arts Board 
    City of Milwaukee Artist in Residence  
    Ranking of Per Capita Arts Invesment 
    Milwaukee High School of the Arts 
    Genre: Urban Arts 
    America’s Black Holocaust Museum 

    • 29 min
    Vel R. Phillips Plaza Art Commission

    Vel R. Phillips Plaza Art Commission

    The Vel R. Phillips Plaza Art Commission 
    In part one of this special two-part episode, Elisabeth speaks with City of Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development Lafayette Crump and arts leader Marilu Knode to discuss the plans for the Vel R. Phillips plaza. It’s a development project for which Crump and Knode are both serving on the art committee to select an original sculpture installation concept that, once completed, will memorialize and animate the legacy of Phillips, a trailblazing Black woman, attorney, politician, jurist, and civil rights activist, who served as an alderperson and judge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and as secretary of state of Wisconsin.
    The group reflects on how the arts are a special ingredient to development—that art can help  our city to stand apart and also function as an economic engine. Crump shares how investing in the arts is often a “less obvious” aspect of infrastructure to decision makers, but an incredibly important ingredient to a city that can retain and attract diverse residents and visitors. With a new generation of leadership in place in Milwaukee under Mayor Cavalier Johnson, the city has made a one-time investment in public art through this $600,000 commission. But the plaza and the artwork will not just be about aesthetic beauty: it will have activations, spaces for vendors, food and beverage offerings and programming to encourage people to linger, engage and learn about Vel Phillips.  
    In her life, Phillips was a boundary pushing figure, and, as Knode reflects, “she forecast the direction the country would be going in with her leadership.” The intention is that the plaza installation and the social and artistic activations it invites will build upon this legacy. “Often people think public art is always “man on horse” or “woman in fountain.” Vel Phillips had a different form of leadership,” reflects Knode. “Let’s use this an opportunity to reformulate how we think about leadership.”  
    But should artists have to be activists? Knode suggests that in this day and age, everything is political. According to her, “going into the arts itself” is political. At the heart of this commission plan is the acknowledgement that artists are often the ones who drive social change in society. 
    “A lot of creativity or boundary pushing that does come out of city government... somewhere you will find an artist pushing on us to do that,” says Crump.  
    Vel R. Phillips Plaza will be constructed by July 2024, and the public art installation is estimated to be completed in 2025. Learn more about the project.
    References and resources  
    Brad Pruitt  
    America’s Black Holocaust Museum 
    The Mountaintop, presented by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre 
    Lexi Brunson 
    CopyWrite Magazine 
    Mike Phillips 
    Downtown Bid #21 
    Westown Association  
    a...

    • 29 min

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Essential for creative Milwaukeeans

They address issues and ideas that Milwaukee’s creative community needs to talk more about and get behind.

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