The Milwaukee community will be able to view the unveiling of a new mural in Black Cat Alley on April 20 and 21.

The East Side Business Improvement District (BID) in cooperation with Wallpapered City, a local agency specializing in public art, has issued a Call for Artists inviting any Wisconsin-based artists over the age of 18 to submit their designs. The winning Artist or Crew will receive an honorarium of $2,000 plus materials.

The new mural will be installed on a north-facing segment of the back wall of the Oriental Theater, near the intersection of Kenilworth and Prospect Avenues. It will appear in the place of a previous mural by Adam Stoner entitled “Devontay,” which was defaced in 2017.

“As far as we know, this will be the first mural of its kind in Milwaukee,” said Program Director Stacey Williams-Ng. “We have been researching ways to continue our work in the Alley so that the artworks are lasting, vibrant, and respectful of the historic buildings they live on.”

The new mural will be created using a method pioneered by Mural Arts Philadelphia in which a poly-woven fabric will be painted in studio, and applied to the brick using a permanent varnish.

“We are planning many installations throughout the year, hoping to attract more visitors to the neighborhood and its businesses. Adding and celebrating new artworks in Black Cat Alley just adds value to the whole community,” said Kristin Godfrey, Executive Director of the East Side BID.

April Mural Overview:

There is no theme specified, but the committee is looking for artworks that inspire and delight and that add to the current collection of public murals in a positive way. The large, vertical mural will be located on the north wall of Black Cat Alley, and the dimensions are 12 feet (w) x 34 feet (h).


The competition is open to any Milwaukee area Artist(s) over 18 years old. All submitting Artists or Crews must have access to a working studio in which to complete the artwork on poly fabric, which must be painted by hand and later installed onsite by the East Side BID. The 400ft2 of special fabric, as well as a stipend for acrylic paint and primer, will be furnished and delivered to the Artist’s location.

Selection process:

Each Artist or Crew may present only one proposal, with a color sketch of the proposed design made to scale and proportions of the final wall. A committee will review the submissions and select a winner based on artistic merit, message and originality of design.


Deadline for submission is Friday, March 9. Winner(s) will be announced on Thursday, March 15, and the Artist or Crew will have approximately one month to complete the work, which will be installed the weekend of April 21 and 22.

The brainchild of local citizens and volunteers, Black Cat Alley is now a major arts destination for our city and the model for other public mural projects. The space includes 15 murals by 17 artists in a one-block alleyway.

© Photo

Lee Matz