Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 officially opened on June 1 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the Northwestern Mutual Gardens, and a free picnic lunch for 1,000 attendees.

Celebrating a second season for the outdoor sculpture experience along Wisconsin Avenue, hundreds attended the kick off party held on the front lawn of the financial services company’s new tower. The site also features 2 of the 21 sculptures by 22 artists in the 2018 Sculpture Milwaukee line-up, Kiki Smith’s “Seer (Alice II)” at the west end and Robert Indiana’s iconic “LOVE, 1966-1999” at the east.

Emceed by Sandy Maxx, host of “The Arts Page” on Milwaukee PBS, the formal program included remarks from Ghassan Korban, City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works Commissioner; Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy, Steve Marcus, chair of Sculpture Milwaukee and chairman of the board of The Marcus Corporation; and Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown BID #21.

Pre-show entertainment was provided by DJ Shawna, with performances by Jenny Thiel, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, and Roxie Beane. The free lunch prepared by Saz’s Hospitality Group.

As the brain-child of the Steve Marcus, Sculpture Milwaukee is a gift to the city that continues to engage local residents and visitors with creative works from world-renowned artists. Aside from the ascetic enjoyment, the project was also designed to spur economic investment and highlight the vibrancy of Milwaukee’s downtown area. The installations will line Wisconsin Avenue from the Lakefront to 6th Street until October 21.

Sculpture Milwaukee also held a special VIP party at The Pfister Hotel’s Grand Ballroom the day before on May 31, presenting a sneak preview of the new artwork and giving guests a docent-led tour.