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MIAD Fine Art faculty selected for national Olmsted panel

A colorful mural depicting Olmsted and scenes from public parks.

Brad Anthony Bernard, Olmsted mural, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.

Brad Anthony Bernard, professor of fine art at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), will participate in a panel discussion about Frederick Law Olmsted at the 2023 annual conference of the Olmsted Network in Milwaukee. An accomplished muralist, Bernard designed a mural depicting Olmsted which will be displayed at a public art space in Milwaukee.

Frederick Law Olmsted was a revolutionary landscape architect who designed well-known public parks and spaces. From Central Park in New York to the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Olmsted believed in landscape architecture as an artistic form. The visionary designer also worked on notable projects in Milwaukee, including Lake Park, Riverside Park, Washington Park and Newberry Boulevard.

“The mural that I completed featuring Olmsted is one of three murals that I painted with the assistance of MIAD interns that are featured as part of the ‘Westview Mural Tour’ that I curated on the Vliet Street business corridor located on the Near West Side,” explains Bernard. “The mural tour features murals done by myself and six other muralists from 40th to 27th on Vliet Street.” Scheduled for installation next fall, Bernard’s Olmsted mural will be located at the Art Intersection MKE public mural and sculpture garden, alongside several mural works by current MIAD students completed as part of a service learning project.

“I attended an Olmsted Tour through Washington Park a few years ago, led by a neighborhood Olmsted historian named Virginia Small,” continues Bernard. “I was compelled to do a bit more research and found that he was not only a gifted park designer but also an Abolitionist and spy for the Union Army prior to the Civil War conflict.” More information about the landscape architect is available through the Olmsted Network.

Although he is not officially connected with the Olmsted Network, Bernard will speak about his mural at the “Olmsteds in Wisconsin” panel discussion, taking place at their annual conference September 20 – 22, 2023 in Milwaukee. Bernard hopes attendees will leave the panel with an understanding of “…the importance of utilizing and maintaining public parks and green spaces as necessary forms of wellness … advocating that they remain free and accessible to residents, and not allowing them to become privatized with fees due upon entry.”

Learn more about the Olmsted Network, keep up with Bernard and explore MIAD’s New Studio Practice: Fine Arts major!


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