Milwaukee to Debut East Side Art Lot
The East Side Business Improvement District (BID) will provide the Milwaukee community with a new outdoor public space for restaurant patrons and for those seeking a quiet corner of the neighborhood.
East Side BID Director, Liz Brodek, noticed on one of her daily walks that the city-owned parking lot at 1915 E North Ave. between Von Trier and Beans and Barley was shockingly underutilized. Brodek then realized that she could seize an opportunity and use this lot to better her community.
“Our small businesses are suffering, and restaurants are some of the hardest-hit because of their already-low margins. We also know that seating capacity is reduced, so this is a great opportunity to expand seating for them without patrons having to go home or leave the area,” Brodek says.
Support for this art lot has grown since Brodek’s initial realization. BID was awarded a grant from AARP’s Small Dollar Big Impact fund and recently received funding to buy picnic tables that local artists will be hired to paint.
This grant and other recent fundings only cover the fee of 10 picnic tables, so additional funds to pay artists for their work, supply materials to artists, and provide ongoing trash maintenance and sanitization of the tables is still needed.
“We [Milwaukee] don’t have much outdoor public space, so this is an opportunity to add that accessible and equitable space as well. We also saw the opportunity to support local artists, with preference given to BIPOC, womxn, and LGTBQ+ artists by getting creative with tables, so it’s a ‘win’ on multiple fronts,” Brodek adds.
The campaign to raise funds to hire local artists for East Side’s newest outdoor public space is seeking $6,500 to bring this project to full fruition. If additional funds are raised, BID will beautify the East Side Art Lot with plants, more local art, and programming.