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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WPCA Celebrates 25 Years in Milwaukee

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Art. Community. Education. These words hold special meaning for the 11,000 people who walk through the doors each year at Walker's Point Center for the Arts (WPCA). Phyllis and Steve Chicorel founded the WPCA in April 1987 as a welcoming space for artists looking to experiment in an affordable gallery. The WPCA now occupies a permanent space, with two galleries and an expansive upper-floor education center, at 839 S. Fifth St.

The center has evolved into a place for cutting-edge visual arts, installations and performances. It has featured artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Nick Cave, Demetra Copoulos, Francis Ford, Dennis Nechvatal, Jill Sebastian, Brian Ritchie (bass player for the Violent Femmes) and Carri Skoczek.

As part of its efforts to encourage the local Latino culture, the WPCA launched its annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition 20 years ago, primarily under Jane Brite's directorship and astute curatorial eye. Brite also built a community art program to reach out to area children. In 2001, Brite co-authored the book Art After School, which details how to run an after-school art program on a limited budget.

A new exhibition, "Vanishing Points: Explorations in Architecture and Identity," opens March 23. The exhibition will be on display for the WPCA's anniversary fund-raiser on Thursday, April 19, 6-9 p.m. This event will be followed by the exhibition's Gallery Night reception, 5 p.m. Friday, April 20.

Twenty-five years is certainly a reason to celebrate. As Executive Director Gary Tuma notes, "It's sometimes difficult to visualize the way a small organization can impact a neighborhood to be a very stable force."

To attend the 25th anniversary fund-raiser—an evening of appetizers, raffles and dance and music performances—at the WPCA, visit www.wpca-milwaukee.org or call 414-672-2787.


Art Happenings


"A Painter, Photographer & Printmaker"

Dean Jensen Gallery

759 N. Water St.

The artists' reception for an exceptional exhibition of up-and-coming artists, featuring Luis Galvez, Dane Haman and Tyanna J. Buie, takes place 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 16.

Grand Opening: A Painting Bar

Splash Studio

184 N. Broadway

Splash Studio debuts March 21 in the Historic Third Ward. Sip wine with friends and learn how to create art at this new studio. For more information, email info@splashmilwaukee.com.