André Saint-Louis: Neighborhood markers and partnership
After two years of planning and work, André Saint-Louis ’01 (Sculpture) and Brandon Minga ’04 (Illustration) have finished a monumental public sculpture project for Milwaukee’s Near West Side neighborhood. The last four of the seven neighborhood markers will be installed in different Near West Side communities at the end of the month, thanks to a U.S. Department of Housing and Development Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant awarded to the Near West Side Partners to bring revitalization elements to the neighborhood.
Saint-Louis and Minga originally won the bid for the project in 2020 and have since weathered challenges ranging from COVID-related metal and paint shortages to moving into a new studio space, but the creatives finished production of the final sculptures this December 2022. The markers, intended to showcase the unique history of each neighborhood in the Near West Side, were selected and planned by a committee that included residents of the neighborhood. “We went back to each one of those communities and did research on the history… culture, some of the architectural references, and then we took a lot of those elements and incorporated them into the design,” explains Saint-Louis.
“It’s always fun to work with the community,” Saint-Louis continues. “…it was great to hear insight, the logistics of where they thought [the markers] should be… It helps reassure you that you’re on the right path, as well as helps guide you to what the path should be.” All the markers feature intricate metalwork, community-specific elements, striking colors and text providing a basic overview of neighborhood history written by a Marquette University graduate student. Saint-Louis hopes the markers will eventually become a landmark that residents can feel proud of, “like a homecoming kind of feel.”
Although Saint-Louis and Minga have collaborated before, this is the first large-scale project they have completed together. Minga, who founded the creative and collaborative House of RAD (Resident Artist Doers) in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, works with 33 local artists in the space, including Saint-Louis. “It brings a lot of unique flavor and talent together which is fun,” says Saint-Louis. “…it really keeps the juices flowing of being inspired by other people’s work, as well as other crafts. The things that you might not have had access to anywhere else.” During the neighborhood markers project, Saint-Louis appreciated how both creatives played to their strengths: Minga enjoys hand-bending and torching metal, while Saint-Louis tackled the jig setups and structural elements.
As a student at MIAD, Saint-Louis developed his understanding of the resources and connections he could build with other artists and creatives. “Having that experience and understanding how you can team together and bring those projects to life that sometimes are daunting to imagine by yourself” was foundational to completing the neighborhood markers project, he says. He also credits Professor Emerita Jill Sebastian with guiding his experience in public sculpture, from community involvement to submitting bids.
Usually known as the Charles Allis Museum, the institution is temporarily changing its name in conjunction with its new exhibition highlighting women, femme and nonbinary artists. The Sarah Ball Allis exhibition is curated by MIAD Associate Professor and Chair of First-Year Experience Kate Schaffer and includes work by MIAD alumni Melissa Dorn ’96 (Sculpture) and Artemis Sidikman ’22 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts).
In their first exhibition, Faith Allen ’25 (Illustration) went big. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design sophomore submitted two artworks to the Black Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition and reveled in the freedom to create the largest pieces they could.
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Unfinished Legacy, a brand started by Milwaukee artist Brema Brema, enjoyed a promotional video created by current Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design senior Hannah Davis for her Digital Media: Video Production elective course in fall 2022. The semester-long project culminated in a three-minute video and three shorter clips advertising the brand.
The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), located in West Bend, has announced its “Ten at Ten” exhibition celebrating the work of ten emerging artists for the tenth anniversary in its new Mothership building. Two MIAD alumni, Lindsey Yeager ’21 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts & Illustration) and Eduardo Zavala ’22 (NSP: Fine Arts), were selected to show work at the exhibition.