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20 of the Most Creative Milwaukeeans
They enrich the fabric of Milwaukee in ways you might not realize. Until now.


Edited by Claire Hanan
With Debra Brehmer, Sarah Butler, Abby Callard, Kurt Chandler, Ann Christenson, Matt Hrodey, Dasha Kelly, Paul Kosidowski, Howie Magner & Tim McCormick 

Photos by Adam Ryan Morris


There’s an old warehouse in Bay View, near Skipper Bud’s marina and Barnacle Bud’s. It’s wrapped in Cream City brick, and just by looking at it, you’d think it’s empty. 

It is anything but. 

If you peeled back that dusty, corn-colored layer, you’d find a hive of about 40 artists so diverse, you’d swear you’ve stepped into the Sydney Hih building in its heyday. 

It seems as if these artists want to be left alone. The building isn’t open to the public, but it’s thriving nonetheless. We think it’s artists, like Heather Hambrecht, who cuts, dyes, embosses and stamps locally tanned leather to create beautiful handbags and fashionable leather garments, who have stories worth telling. In fact, with your help, we found 19 more Milwaukeeans who might fly under the radar now, but are using their ingenuity to advance this city in ways someone like Solomon Juneau would have never imagined. An urban walking trail dotted with art made from recycled materials? A brewery crafting suds using local coffee or jasmine tea? What about a psychologist bringing counseling to the public house, instead of waiting for the public to come to her? These are realities for contemporary Milwaukeeans, and it’s all thanks to these supremely inventive minds.  

1. Seamstress in Hiding Heather Hambrecht
2. Data Detective Mallory O'Brien
3. Social Sculptor Niki Johnson
4. Gaming Guru John Bergman
5. Renegade Chef Justin Carlisle
6. Gymnastic Biker Tim Knoll
7. Queen of Collage Tyanna Buie
8. Robot God Andrew Williams
9. Dr. Feel Better Julie Helmrich
10. Director of Posture Ray Chi
11. Prince of Pirouettes Timothy O'Donnell
12. Brand Man Michael Nieling
13. Community Documentarian Brad Pruitt
14. Playwright for the Ages Anne Basting
15. Director of Arts and Trash Keith Hayes
16. Gonzo Brewer Jim McCabe
17. Urban Ecologist Ken Leinbach
18. Renaissance Rapper Rory "Milo" Ferreira
19. Profesora de Musica Dinorah Marquez
20. Guerilla Gardener Ney Collier

This article appears in the November 2013 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
To read the full article and more like it, subscribe to Milwaukee Magazine.




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