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Gallery Night Reaches New Heights
RedLine Milwaukee presents prestigous RBC art exhibit opening Friday

Photo by Roland Fischer, The Human Touch, Selections from RBC's Wealth Management Collection.

Lori Bauman walked through the art gallery and beamed with pride. “We’ve been working on getting this exhibit for over a year now. I can’t believe we actually pulled it off.”

RedLine Milwaukee has been flying under the radar ever since Lori and Steve Vande Zande founded the art and education incubator nearly five years ago.

No more.

This week this unique urban laboratory opens an art exhibit called The Human Touch, featuring art selections from the nationally renowned RBC Wealth Management Collection. 

A division of Royal Bank of Canada with offices all over the globe including Milwaukee, RBC Wealth Management has one heck of an art collection. And their philanthropic goal is to promote art experiences by sharing their collection in cities where they have offices. Which means they are making selections from their collection accessible to RedLine at no cost for this exhibition. A real coup for the young organization. And a nice benefit to the city from RBC.

The timing couldn’t be better. Friday marks one of four Gallery Nights held in Milwaukee annually (October, January, April and July), and coincidentally that is Opening Night for The Human Touch at RedLine. The exhibition runs through Dec. 23.

So let’s go into more detail. First, you may ask, just what is this "art education incubator" called RedLine?

RedLine is an organization that offers art education programs and internships to the youth of Milwaukee, as well as providing professional artists chances to grow and develop through residency and professional development programs. RedLine is a non-profit group that also has a positive influence in the community through their exhibition program, outreach programs and community workshops.

For the most part, RedLine has featured works from their aspiring artists over the course of their first five years. One exhibit, an interpretation of Graffiti Art, struck me enough two years ago to write about it on this site. It was a great example of the talent these aspiring artists bring to the organization.

But getting The Human Touch brings RedLine a new level of visibility. And that’s a good thing. As Bauman says, “securing this Exhibition illustrates to the community that our young organization has the organizational experience, staff, security and partners to successfully host art works of this exceptional caliber and to use it in a way that changes lives.”

That begs the question, then, exactly what is The Human Touch exhibition?

It is an art exhibit, both photos and paintings, which has the human figure as its focus. The collection of about 40 pieces at RedLIne reflects both rich cultural diversity as well as complexity of contemporary society. The artwork is realistic and abstract, serious and whimsical. I got a sneak preview last week, and it is really breathtaking work.

And why is it such a coup for RedLine to secure these works of art?

Bauman recounts the effort: “We first approached RBC over a year ago, asking to host The Human Touch Exhibition. Their interest came after hearing how great of an impact their collection would have not only our education programs, but our community programs, and our artists’ professional development program as well.”

The Human Touch brings museum quality art to a venue that provides access to a broader audience than is generally served by larger institutions. We are fortunate to have connected with them.  And, although we are grateful for, and love our building ... this exhibition really makes our building look fabulous!” 

An organization doing this much good with this much to offer needs to be more visible. They especially wish they could tell people about The Human Touch. It would be worth it.

So if you’re going to Gallery Night this Friday, stopping by RedLine to see The Human Touch is a must. It’s easy to get to, just three blocks north of the Bradley Center on 4th Street.  And the work is spectacular.

If you’re not going to Gallery Night, maybe you should change your plans.

Don McNeil, RBC’s curator, will give a gallery talk introducing this amazing collection when it opens at 5 p.m. Friday. Since RedLine is a member driven organization, and Don’s introduction is Members Only, a membership might be a consideration. RedLine is more than a worthy cause. For more information contact Tasha.redline@gmail.com or go to the RedLine web site.

Bauman's pride is infectious: “It means a great deal to the RedLine board and staff, and Steve and I personally, that RBC has shown the faith in us and entrusted us with such a valuable, scholarly, and widely sought opportunity.”

An opportunity well deserved. Under the radar no longer.

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