Neighborhood markers and community-building: Brandon Minga
Residents of Milwaukee’s Near West Side are enjoying their neighborhood’s rich history and artistry through seven unique markers, courtesy of Milwaukee creatives and MIAD alumni Brandon Minga ’04 Illustration and André Saint-Louis ’01 Sculpture. The markers, which are made possible with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, will be intended for pedestrians to view while walking through the area and will tell stories specific to each neighborhood in the Near West Side. So far, three of the planned seven markers are complete and installed.
According to a blog post published by Near West Side Partners, the markers will be 12-foot-tall structures intended to “bring permanence, color and liveliness to the area.” Minga, quoted in the post, particularly enjoyed gathering information from the community and emphasizes the importance of that feedback given the vast and unique community that makes up the Near West Side. “Community involvement and hearing the peoples’ voice and opinion about what’s going to go in their neighborhood and how passionate some of those folks are [has been] one of the highlights,” he says.
No stranger to the power of creativity to build community, Minga is also the principal artist and founder of the House of RAD (Resident Artist Doers), a creative collective that strives to unite the “most progressive innovators in art & design, tech, and making.” At the beginning of November, House of RAD hosted a successful fundraising event for Feed Your Soul, an organization committed to fighting hunger with art.
Minga appreciates the meaningful relationships he built at MIAD with “…creative professionals that changed the way I was thinking and seeing the world.” After a decade of running his company Mingadigm, a pursuit which took perseverance and eight preliminary years of hard work, Minga reflects that he “got stuck on some things and some extremely difficult situations but never stopped dreaming and trying different things… the returns on doing and/or pursuing what you love are intoxicatingly fulfilling.”
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.
Briana Hibbs ’12 (Photography) started her own handmade earrings business, Made by the Lake, in January 2019. She relies on her eye for product photography to show her jewelry in its best light, and the business now boasts a successful following of over 2,000 customers on Facebook.
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.