Photo courtesy of Art Amanda
ART: Maritime Mosaics
Avast, ye mateys! In the height of summer, the lakes and rivers of Wisconsin teem with all manner of seacraft. But anyone can sip a beer on a friend’s cabin cruiser or take a paddleboat around the Veterans Park lagoon. For aspiring Noahs (or Thor Heyerdahls), there’s the John Michael Kohler Arts Center “Art Armada,” a fossil-fuel-free flotilla of flotsam that will warm the heart of the most fervent environmentalist. Boats must be human powered, and constructed from a very narrow list of materials (cardboard, milk jugs, swimming noodles, etc.). Once launched at Sheboygan’s Rotary Riverview Park, they will be judged in a number of categories. The truly adventurous can try the “Castaway Division,” in which you get 90 minutes to craft your craft from “Castaway Debris.” Davy Jones awaits. (Paul Kosidowski)
➞ Art Armada (July 4). Rotary Riverview Park. 539 Riverfront Dr., Sheboygan, 920-458-6144, jmkac.org.
Photo by Adrienne Williams, courtesy of The Living Statues
MUSIC: Reverberating Leather
The Brady Street Festival is an acceptable rationale for finally getting down to the commercial strip on the East Side and walking around, which is the preferred activity, if you’re not in the market for a secondhand bird cages. Newish local band the Living Statues will strut onto one of the festival’s outdoor stages for the purpose of overheating their amps and promoting a new EP of lean garage rock, Knockin’, which came out in April. This is the greaser-chic trio’s first release after its 2013 single, “Our American Cousin,” which was tuneful enough to secure opener slots for the Vaccines, Best Coast and others. (Matt Hrodey)
➞ The Living Statues (July 26). Brady Street Festival. Brady Street. bradystreet.org.
Photo courtesy of Listening to Mitchell
ART: A Dynamic Mural
For the past year, Sonja Thomsen, a photographer, and Adam Carr, a former radio producer, have been “Listening to Mitchell” Street. The result is a public-art project that occupies seven blocks of this South Side neighborhood. Once primarily Polish and now Latino, this hub of bridal shops, taquerias and churches has been siphoned for its stories and visual artifacts. Murals, photographs, a storefront sound installation and call-in access (414-921-2622) to stories from local residents hope to generate a buzz that will bring curiosity to this economically sleepy area. By creating a more experiential portrait, it tries to absorb rather than document the street. (Debra Brehmer)
➞ Listening to Mitchell: Sound Installations (July 1-Sept. 1). Mitchell Street, listeningtomitchell.wordpress.com.
DANCE: Last Dance
Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School, dance in the summer is no longer limited to tipsy gals whirling hula hoops to Grateful Dead covers. In fact, July offers two chances to take in some serious dance. Graduate students will present their latest work for Dancemakers 2014 (July 24-26), and one graduating MFA gets a night to herself: Nicole Wolcott (July 5) spent much of her New York City career with the celebrated Larry Keigwin Company, and now has her own company.
➞ Nicole Wolcott (July 5). Dancemakers 2014 (July 24-26). Mitchell Studio 254. 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd., 414-229-4308, psoacal.uwm.edu
Trillium Hill by Emily Wilson. Photo courtesy of Katie Gingrass Gallery
ART: Scene Unseen
Katie Gingrass Gallery distinguishes itself through its eager engagement with materials and craft. Any show at this Third Ward establishment, graciously run by a master of Milwaukee’s art world, might sprinkle glass, ceramics, jewelry, fibers and, yes, painting, into a dazzling display of objects. “Gesture” remains true to this formula. It’s a group show of gallery artists who all utilize gesture to energize their work. Kerry Vesper of Arizona is a woodworker who makes well-crafted wavy curlicues and organic zigzag wall pieces. Suzanne Donazetti alters and colors the surfaces of metals, and then weaves the strips into prismatic shimmery patterns. Natalie Blake carves elegant plant patterns into porcelain. You get the idea: motion, pattern, movement, the allure of the handmade. (Debra Brehmer)
➞ “Gesture” (July 1-Aug. 29). Katie Gingrass Gallery. 207 E. Buffalo St., 414-289-0855, gingrassgallery.com.