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Year In Review 2017: The soul of the city sculpted in paint

The photo essays presented here were published as original works created in 2017 by the Milwaukee Independent, with a focus on the mural movement to beautify the city and create art destinations from once abandoned sites.

While no movement ever begins or advances alone or in isolation, and pointing to a beginning is impossible to do in real-time, artist Stacey Williams-Ng continued to be one of the biggest advocates for murals in Milwaukee over 2017. The city has a history of murals and a legacy of famous muralists like Reynaldo Hernandez, who documented scenes of the Civil Rights struggle as a witness for the future – which decades later is now today. The current wave of murals in the ongoing Milwaukee art renaissance was championed by many artists, including Jeff Redmon, that gained momentum and public attention with the 2016 installation of Black Cat Alley on Milwaukee’s East Side. This year saw an exponential expansion of mural projects across Milwaukee County. The images in these photo collections document many of the efforts that occurred in 2017.

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This is a general byline. The news we report is our focus, not getting credit. This generic attribution is used when our staff wants to make sure the attention goes where it belongs, on the story. Our mission is to inspire and transform the Milwaukee community. Publishing requires an author, so this account is used to keep the spotlight is on our coverage.