The crowd-sourced photo project aims to bring the city together, one garden at a time.

With the beginning of summer, ZIP MKE launched its first photography challenge since its inception in October 2016. The community engagement organization, whose mission is to bring Milwaukee communities closer together through photography, is inviting city residents to share their “green” photos this summer.

Whether they are photos taken in their front or backyard flower gardens or their balcony herb gardens, their community plots in an urban garden or their experiences at a farmer’s market, or even their garden potluck or yoga session or trail cleanup, ZIP MKE will feature them in a special gallery on its website. The best photos will be selected for a public exhibit and potluck picnic at Alice’s Garden in September.

The green summer challenge aims both to give former contributors a new focus and offer those new to ZIP MKE a fun, engaging, and universal way of celebrating the planting of seeds, cultivation, and growth–in garden terms and social terms–in Milwaukee.

Residents can share their photos at or #zipmke on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. High resolution is preferred but not required.

In their first nine months, ZIP MKE has collected over 1,400 photographs taken by its team and contributing Milwaukee residents. A selection of these images of the faces, places, and events that make each of the 28 ZIP Codes. They are all represented by unique, beautiful, and diverse has been on display at Milwaukee Public Libraries since January 2017.

The current library exhibit can be seen at the East Branch at 2320 N. Cramer St. until the end of June. A special pop-up gallery also appeared at the 88Nine Radio Milwaukee Block Party on June 24.

ZIP MKE is a grassroots community engagement project created in October 2016 that uses photography to create neighborhood pride, foster community connections, expand social perspectives by diminishing preconceived assumptions, and reimagine the narrative of Milwaukee as “united” and “collaborative.”

The organization embraces the ubiquity of the camera and its potential to capture stories or subjects, whether human, natural, or architectural, in powerful ways. Through its online gallery, public exhibitions, neighborhood walks, and community conversations, ZIP MKE envisions what Milwaukee is and the depth of its community character that everyone should see.

© Photo
Lee Matz