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Black Cat Alley adds urban garden for Doors Open Milwaukee 2017

One-Year anniversary celebrated with two new murals and green space.

The East Side’s Black Cat Alley mural destination is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month. Last year, it premiered during Doors Open Milwaukee 2016 to thousands of enchanted visitors. This year, visitors during Doors Open Milwaukee 2017 will enjoy a beautiful new urban garden in front of Tia Richardson’s 2016 mural “Milwaukee Gaia Buddha,” executed by Sam Alford; a brand-new mural by local illustrator and artist David Zimmerman; and the live installation of another mural by Chicago artist Goosenek.

The Black Cat Alley is a corridor of world-class murals created by a diverse group of international and national professional artists and student artists. This “outdoor gallery” is located on Milwaukee’s East Side in a private alley behind the Oriental Theatre and Colectivo between Kenilworth and Ivanhoe Avenues. Last year, 16 artists created over 11,000 square feet of art in just one city block. Over the past year, Black Cat Alley has attracted visitors from all over the world, becoming one of the top ten tourist destinations in Milwaukee.

“We have wanted to create a garden in front of Tia’s mural since the beginning,” said BCA Program Director, Stacey Williams-Ng. “We are delighted to be working with Sam Alford and his team on a garden design that both the alley owner and the artist are happy with.” Sam Alford, currently with Alice’s Garden and the creator of the public garden at 18th and Meinecke in Lindsay Heights, created a garden design that will feature perennials and flowers that mirror and enhance the nature scene in Richardson’s painting.

Artist David Zimmerman, better known about town as “Bigshot Robot,” is looking forward to contributing a mural to Black Cat Alley. “Think about it. Images at a fantastical scale, free to look at, easily accessible, and in an informal setting. Black Cat Alley was the perfect way to issue Milwaukee into a renaissance of public art. As Milwaukee grows, so do its artists and communities, and murals are an inspiring way to celebrate that momentum and energy. I want to be a part of that.”

The Chicago artist known as Goosenek has become famous on the north side of Chicago for his signature playful geese that seem to have just popped up throughout neighborhoods around the country. A “fine artist” and illustrator as well as muralist, Goosenek was drawn to Black Cat Alley for its unique accessibility to the community. He says, “I think any and all forms of art should be made for people to see, hear, feel, eat, etc. I’m excited for the opportunity to contribute to the rich public art of Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee.” Visitors to Black Cat Alley during Doors Open may be able to experience this mural installation for themselves as Goosenek will be painting the new piece beginning Saturday morning.

The Black Cat Alley, owned by the East Side Business Improvement District #20, is an outdoor gallery of street art on Milwaukee’s East Side. Located near the UWM Peck School of the Arts and numerous shops and restaurants, the alley features 14 large-scale murals created by 16 international, national and local artists.

© Photo

Bigshot Robot and Goosenek

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