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MIAD alums, professors receive MCT Black Excellence Awards

Two Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alums, one of whom is a MIAD professor, and a second professor were among the 25 recipients of a Mountaintop Legacy Award for Black Excellence given by the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) during its run of The Mountaintop March 8 – 24, 2024.

Awardees also included Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and President & CEO of the African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee Walter Lanier.

According to MCT’s website, the awards recognize “Milwaukee difference-makers who exemplify the ideals of unity, equity and locally led movements highlighted by Dr. [Martin Luther] King, Jr., in his final speech, commonly referred to as ‘The Mountaintop Speech.’ The play is an inspiring reimagining of his final night … where a mysterious stranger forces him to confront his destiny and legacy.”

Alexia Brunson

Alexia Brunson

Morgan Bouldes

Morgan Bouldes

“I was pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled when I received notice of the award,” says Morgan Bouldes, MIAD First-Year Experience assistant professor and an interdisciplinary artist and writer. “What is especially meaningful is that you never know who is watching the things that you do when you don’t think anyone is paying attention.”

Bouldes came to MIAD as a two-year Fellow of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) and accepted a full-time position thereafter.

In furthering Dr. King’s dream, Bouldes says, “Upon my move to MKE from Detroit, the first thing I took note of was how deeply segregated and redlined the city was. I dream of a time when Milwaukee is far more integrated and does so with an open heart. To help improve what is within my reach, I have started a task force to help improve the experiences of our Black students on campus, which make up the smallest demographic at MIAD. These efforts were inspired by the desire to set MIAD apart from its segregated surroundings.”

Alum Alexia (Lexi) S. Brunson (Interior Architecture and Design) is assistant professor of Writing & Humanities and owner and editor-in-chief of CopyWrite Magazine, Media & Design LLC. Brunson says she “would like to see people practice radical empathy. Dr. King was a great leader because he saw the issue as being a ‘WE’ problem, with a ‘WE’ solution. I hope that all people in Milwaukee can come together and confront what IS without sugar coating how ‘WE’ got here.”

“I am proud to be progressing my career as a full time creative entrepreneur with my endeavors at CopyWrite, while simultaneously holding my role as a full time professor. I am needed in both spaces and that intersectionality has allowed me to serve my community with greater impact.”

Awardee Ladasia Bryant ’23 (Communication Design) is a K-8th grade art teacher at Hope 3 Christian schools and a multifaceted graphic designer, fine artist and creator of Braided Magazine.

According to her website, “My creative journey converges graphic design, fine art and curation, with a profound focus on community and meaningful change through the arts. Braided Magazine [is] my commitment to amplifying BIPOC creativity and fostering accessibility to art in our communities….”

MCT partnered with CopyWrite Magazine, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and Zao MKE Church on the awards. Read more about them.

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