Emma Daisy mural

The Best and Worst of Cream City Culture in May

This month’s forecast called for some highs, and lows, on the A&E front.

The Good

1) Milwaukee Ballet Donates Hundreds of Tickets to Local Families

To close out its 49th season, and its final year in Walker’s Point, Milwaukee Ballet gave away 490 free tickets to families living near its headquarters. “I couldn’t imagine a better way to thank this neighborhood for its support than to give the gift of this performance to students, teachers and families living in 53204,” Artistic Director Michael Pink said in a recent press release. “Milwaukee Ballet has been in Walker’s Point since 1981. In my 17-year tenure, I have watched this neighborhood blossom and I am thrilled for the renaissance it’s undergoing.”

In the fall, the company will move into a new, much larger facility in the Third Ward, near the Summerfest grounds. But Pink says that the company will continue to offer a scholarship to a student living in the 53204 zip code even after the move.

Photo courtesy of MIlwaukee Ballet

2) Wisconsin Avenue Is Getting Arty

Sculpture Milwaukee, now in its third year, has begun installing the 23 works of art that will be part of its free, summer-long outdoor exhibition. New this year? A two-story site-specific work by the Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolón, who has transformed the lobby of the Chase Bank building into a tropical hothouse of sorts. Plus, works by blue-chip artists like John Baldessari, whose gigantic penguin sculpture – installed near the intersection of Cass Street and Wisconsin Avenue – is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.  

3) A Daisy Blooms in Westown

We learned in late May that Westown is about to get a bit more colorful. Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 and the Downtown Placemaking Task Force have teamed up to commission a giant mural – at the corner of James Lovell Street and Wisconsin Avenue – from a local artist. The artist, Emma Daisy, is widely praised for her expressive floral works. And she plans to paint an urban garden for the 80-feet-wide by 50-feet-high mural.

“My artistic concept is to create a bright, colorful garden of flora to enliven the space and create a sense of wonder, vibrancy, beauty and hope that is representative of the revitalization and renewal efforts of Westown,” she said in a statement. “Plant life improves mood, and there is nothing more welcoming to visitors than fresh flowers.”

The Bad

1) We can’t shake Drake just yet

Our beloved Bucks lost out to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA playoffs. The loss itself stung. But Drake’s obnoxious courtside antics made it all the more painful. Painful enough the many of our staffers decided to boycott the Canadian-born rapper’s music for the duration of the playoffs.

According to our managing editor, Tom Tolan, “’Hotline Bling’ is a good enough reason to boycott him. He’s dancing in a box for most of it – I’d say, close the box, with him in it.”

2) 20 Trees Are Felled Outside the Marcus Center

Earlier this month, construction crews cut down 20 mature chestnut trees in a grove adjacent to the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The grove, designed by acclaimed landscape architect Dan Kiley, had stood silent guard over the cultural center for decades. But Marcus Center officials had decided to remove the grove in order to move forward with plans to build a new atrium and terrace overlooking the Milwaukee River.



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.