Select Page

Ornament Trail features MIAD alumni, faculty, students

For decades, Milwaukee has hosted an annual Holiday Lights Festival. To commemorate the festival’s 25th anniversary, Milwaukee Downtown will also host the new Ornament Trail this year. Five Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alumni and one instructor, who teamed up with both students and alumni, produced giant ornaments for the event.

The Ornament Trail stretches across Wisconsin Avenue and Water Street and includes work by 15 artists with ties to Milwaukee. On view until January 6, 2024, visitors can follow along with the free Ornament Trail Activity Guide, which includes activities for kids and coupons for businesses along the route.

Brad Anthony Bernard ’93 (Painting), associate professor in Fine Art + New Studio Practice, worked with Lindsey Greene ’23 (Fine Art), Shelbey Smith ’26 and Grace Gasser (Marquette University) to create “Dwennimmen.” Inspired by the West African Andinkra symbol, “Dwennimmen,” or “Ram’s Horns,” symbolizes humility and strength—a life principle that Bernard finds “important to embody during the holiday season.” Visitors can view “Dwennimmen” outside of MIAD’s Gallery at The Ave, the college’s new offsite gallery and consignment space.

An additional five alumni independently created ornaments for the exhibition. Nova Czarnecki ’81 (Painting), CERA (Janson Rapisarda) ’12 (Printmaking), John Kowalczyk ’10 (Painting), Monique Machut ’18 (Illustration) and Josephine Rice ’10 (Interior Architecture and Design) and all contributed artwork to the project.

Czarnecki works as an artist and local muralist and contributed Botticelli-inspired “The Four Graces” to the Ornament Trail, echoing his “Primavera” goddesses Joy, Light and Bloom. Czarnecki added the goddess Time to the mix as well. “I hope that anyone who passes by these ornaments feels the love that was put into them,” she says. “How cool that the city of Milwaukee and businesses here are willing to support and fund a project like this!”

Machut thought about the prompt provided by the organizers—what does the holiday season mean to you?—and created “Merry in Pink,” a new and welcome challenge when it came to painting in 3D. “I wanted my ornament to include subtle nods to what I enjoy about winter in Milwaukee: the arts (Nutcracker), the Bucks (Small Deer/Buck) and the community of giving during the season (present),” she explains. “I hope it gives a reason for people to travel downtown during the winter … the art will brighten up the sidewalks with so many wonderful designs! I’m very excited to take a walk down Wisconsin now that they’re installed.”

Faced with the same prompt, Rice considered another direction in her work. “‘Winter Reflections’ is an acknowledgment of the holidays being a hard time for many,” she says. “It’s a lovely season of togetherness and cheer but can also be painful with reminiscing about the past.” Rice also invites Milwaukee residents to explore the Ornament Trail: “[It] is a great activity for everyone to get outside and explore the gallery of art. Adding pops of color to Milwaukee this cold time of year is extra special!”

View a CBS58 interview with Bernard, explore the full list of participating artists and locations and learn more about MIAD Gallery at The Ave!


MIAD students receive 2023 Graphic Design Awards from GDUSA

Three MIAD Communication Design students received 60th anniversary American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) magazine. The students were selected from over 8,000 entries, and judged alongside professional design work. Fewer than 10% of entrants received an award.

IAD seniors tour construction site of The Couture

Interior Architecture and Design (IAD) seniors from MIAD were taken to new heights on November 13 when they toured the construction site of The Couture, a 44-story skyscraper under construction that will be Milwaukee’s tallest residential and mixed-use building. The tour was part of a series of tours their senior thesis “Building Systems” class is taking with instructor Dan Kalkman, AIA.

MIAD Values Recognition Award: Sarah Eichhorn

Sarah Eichhorn, Visiting Instructor of Fashion and Apparel Design, received the October 2023 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Eichhorn’s nominations speak to her Kindness, Inclusiveness, Innovation and support of MIAD’s Community.

Collaborative community: Fine Art faculty live MIAD values

Building community and collaboration through art: this is how two faculty members at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) spent their summer. Kim Miller, Professor and Chair of Fine Arts + New Studio Practice, and Peter Barrickman, Associate Professor in Fine Arts, completed a residency in Concepción, Chile in July.


Accepting applications for Fall and Spring 2024
Apply now!

December 1, 2023
Priority Application Date

December 2023
FAFSA available for 2024-25 school year
Use MIAD's school code: 014203

February 10, 2024 | 12 – 3 p.m.
MIAD Information Day
Register now

February 15, 2024
Application & Merit Scholarship Priority Deadline
Apply now!

May 1, 2024
Tuition Deposit Deadline