Fred Kaems to paint children’s literacy mural in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights Neighborhood
Milwaukee’s Washington Heights Neighborhood will feature a new mural aimed at promoting both adult and children’s literacy, support neighborhood involvement and provide a connection to libraries.
The Heights Dream Library is a mural featuring imaginary books on shelves that will be painted this summer by Fred Kaems on the east-facing wall of 5700 W. Vliet St. The project is sponsored by the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association and is supported in part by a grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board.
“The Heights Dream Library is intended to be a visual reminder that ideas sparked by dreams can change the person, the neighborhood and the world. Through colorful portrayal of imaginary books, we hope to promote innovation and reading,” said Dan Schley, the owner of the Vliet Street building.
Project artist Fred Kaems is a Washington Heights resident who works as a painter, muralist, designer and maker, and his work is in private collections around the country.
A steering committee of neighborhood residents is accepting suggestions for book titles that will be painted on the wall. To avoid copyright conflicts, all titles must represent imaginary books, such as Washington Heights Rock Stars, 51st Street Follies, or Phoebe’s Math Magic. Suggestions can be made online, and the steering committee will review suggested books and choose about 40 titles based on creativity and diversity.
Additionally, there is the opportunity for anyone to sponsor a book title and author’s name – to commemorate a family member, for example. The steering committee has the will make final decisions on such mural content.
Schley said the Milwaukee Arts Board matching grant will pay for almost half of the $11,000 anticipated costs of the project, and the committee is hoping to raise the rest of the funds through contributions.