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The Furniture Society and Milwaukee Art Museum Teen Internship Program collaborate at MIAD to build benches for Milwaukee’s Victory Over Violence Park

Victory Over Violence Park in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (June 12, 2019) … Local Milwaukee organizations Home GR/OWN and the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) Teen Internship Program are partnering with attendees from The Furniture Society’s annual conference at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), June 19 – 22, 2019 to create furniture for installation at Victory Over Violence Park in Milwaukee, in an initiative called, the “Craft for a Greater Good Project.”

“This project provides an opportunity for multiple organizations to begin a dialogue about how craft impacts a park, a neighborhood, and a child’s education, and to work together on a project that positively impacts the Milwaukee community,” said Maggie Sasso, Vice President of The Furniture Society’s Board of Trustees and Textile Lab Technician at MIAD.

200 participants build benches for Victory Over Violence Park

Approximately 200 makers, designers, educators, students and furniture enthusiasts from around the country, including MIAD students, alumni, and staff, will actively participate in creating the public works through hands-on sessions. Specifically, they will construct a bench using urban Honey Locust wood donated by Hoppe Tree Service and found materials (such as old chairs, garden implements and other unique materials) collected by MAM Teen Internship Program students. After the conference concludes, teens in the MAM program will complete the bench and develop engaging signage describing the process and impact of this project on Victory Over Violence Park.

Madison-based artist Tom Loeser designed the benches. Loeser is head of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s wood/furniture program.

The benches will be constructed at MIAD in the college’s expansive 3D Lab during The Furniture Society’s conference:

  • Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21, 10:45 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 22, 2:45 – 4 p.m.

The benches will be installed at Victory Over Violence Park in time for the Bronzeville Week celebrations August 3 – 10, 2019.


About the project partners

  • The Home GR/OWN initiative is run by the Milwaukee Mayor’s office. Tim McCollow, who works in the City of Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office, runs the initiative. The initiative converts vacant lots into farms, community gardens, orchards and parks, and rehabs city commercial corridors. It has completed 30 projects citywide. Victory Over Violence Park was transformed over 20 years ago from one of the most dangerous and violent areas of the central city to a gathering place for community members, and continues to be maintained today.
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum Teen Internship Program is a summer internship program for 16-to-18-year-old students that addresses the issues of access to high-level arts education programs. Internships at MAM expand teens’ career horizons while empowering them to recognize their strengths, follow their passion and leverage a large cultural platform to engage their community and express their voice in an artistic way.
  • The Furniture Society is a national nonprofit with a mission of advancing the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence and fostering understanding of this art and its place in society. The 2019 annual conference, held at MIAD, explores the concept of “groundwork” and the importance of research, inspiration and broad sourcing that goes into furniture creation.
  • The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design is an accredited, nonprofit college that provides a transformative Bachelor of Fine Arts education that prepares students of diverse backgrounds for robust careers. MIAD fosters innovative, entrepreneurial and disruptive thinking that benefits our students and our corporate and nonprofit partners. MIAD brings robust career pathways and college-readiness experiences to high school youth and provides cultural experiences and programming to the Greater Milwaukee community. The college also offers a Furniture Design minor.


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