Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009

Milwaukee Artists Hit the Road

By Aisha Motlani
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"It Came From Milwaukee” sounds like the title of a lurid, low-budget horror flick. In actual fact it’s the newest effort by the plucky Luckystar gallery to broadcast the artwork of Milwaukee artists by taking them on the road.

The merry troupe who, starting in May will take the States by storm, include Luckystar’s Bridget Griffith Evans; founder of the online arts and music mag Tastes Like Chicken and illustrator of the recently released Missing the Boat Dwellephant  (aka Milan Zori); painter; and muralist Eduardo Villanueva and Racine-born airbrush artist Jeff Sadowski.


The tour begins with an exhibit and silent auction  at Grava Gallery (207 E. Buffalo St.) giving Milwaukee audiences a chance to see the work of these artist and contribute to their  traveling kitty. Next it moves on to St. Louis before heading back this way in July as it makes its way to the Windhover Arts Center in Fond du Lac. Finally the tour will be welcomed back home with the appropriate fanfare in a one night event titled “The Future is Now” at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Friday, November 20.

Most of you may know Luckystar Studios closed the doors of its Vilet Street gallery space last August. The change of tactics this tour signifies, reverting to a form of artistic promotion they’ve embarked on before in 2006 and 2007’s East and West Coast tours of Midwestern artists, speaks of shifting attitudes towards how art should be presented to the public. “Times are changing and the structured gallery setting isn’t necessarily the most effective approach to showcasing art,” says Griffith Evans. “We can do what we do without a bricks and mortar space.”

Clearly the closure of their gallery hasn’t whetted the owners of Luckystar’s enthusiasm for Milwaukee artists, or their desire to promote them. “There’s a lot of exciting art happening in Milwaukee that we want the country to see,” says Griffin Evans. She is, however, slightly disenfranchised with some of the city’s art functions. “I think Gallery Night has turned into more of a party. It seems less about checking out art than people going out and being seen and drinking wine.”

The fact that they’ve had to pare down their tour also speaks of the struggle for survival many of the city’s arts institutions are experiencing in light of the current economic downturn. “Unfortunately there were other stops originally but a lot of the galleries have since closed down, so we ended up paring it down,’ says Griffith Evans. “The ones that remain are established galleries who aren’t going anywhere.”

Well let’s keep our fingers crossed all the same!

For more info go to http://itcamefrommilwaukee.blogspot.com.

 

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