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Neighborhood markers and community-building: Brandon Minga

Metal pyramid-shaped structure with information about the Miller Park neighborhood

Miller Park neighborhood marker

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.

Filigreed metal human-shaped sculpture reaches with sunset in the background

“Piqué,” Brandon Minga

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.”

Keep up with Brandon at his website or House of RAD, read the full Near West Side Partners story, and learn more about MIAD’s Illustration major!

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