The full Common Council approved a new first-of-its-kind pilot program to turn dilapidated foreclosed homes into beautiful hubs for artwork and resources.

The Art and Resource Community Hub (ARCH) loan program will take city-owned foreclosed homes and turn them into artists’ oases and resource hubs.

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs and Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II are the principal sponsors of the legislation creating the pilot, which will focus on transforming city-owned foreclosed homes beginning in the Bronzeville area and the Walnut Hill neighborhood.

Both Alderwoman Coggs and Alderman Stamper extended thanks to the artists who inspired them to push the ARCH program forward.

Ray Nitti, founder of FLYE, a Milwaukee-based business that focuses on connecting artists with opportunities to work with area companies and non-profits on various events, said he believes ARCH has the potential to allow more artists to thrive while earning a living to support themselves and their families.

“I think the ARCH program is vitally important to the artist community and the City of Milwaukee,” Mr. Nitti said. “We are excited to work on the models launching in Bronzeville and in Walnut Hill. We look forward to consulting with the city and developers on this project throughout its entirety.”

“This is a new approach to creating a critical mass of artistic talent, creativity and entrepreneurship in Milwaukee neighborhoods that truly need a boost of positive energy,” Alderwoman Coggs said. “We hope to build the program and increase resources and add new neighborhoods, and we believe the pilot will help get us to that next level.”

Alderman Stamper, whose 15th Aldermanic District includes a portion of the city’s original Bronzeville area, said the ARCH program neighborhoods will benefit by the positivity, stability and creativity brought about by artist-occupied homes and/or much needed resource hubs.

“We have a solid win-win where we are turning foreclosed homes that are available on the market into creative spaces for artists and homes used to provide valuable resources,” Alderman Stamper said. “We are hopeful that the stability and vitality of ARCH homes will bring additional investment and economic activity.”

ARCH is a matching grant program whereby the city puts up $25,000 and the artist or interested person purchasing a home must match that amount and work to rehab the home, transforming it into a livable and working art studio or resource hub.

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Lee Matz