Culture Crush

Carole Nicksin’s monthly letter to our readers.

Editing this magazine tops my list of passions in life, but art and culture run very close behind. So when I had the opportunity to interview Marcelle Polednik, the new director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, for this month’s issue, I was thrilled – partially because I was curious about her plans for the museum, and partially because I wanted to have someone to geek out with over art. She didn’t disappoint. Polednik is unquestionably accomplished, but best of all, she’s game. She took my good-natured grousing about this and that in stride, fielding my queries with finesse, often finishing her sentences with a little smile that said, “Touché.” I’m happy the museum is in such capable hands, and am excited to see where Polednik leads it.

The centerpiece of this issue is a fascinating report on Chinese investment in our community. Under the EB-5 program, Chinese investors have made sizable contributions to local building developments, including the Marriott and Aloft hotels. It’s an interesting and informative read.

In the Dining section, you’ll find some pointers on choosing and cooking a turkey. Yes, it’s getting to be that time of year. There’s also a review of Pastiche in Hotel Metro and of a new, Milwaukee-style pizza restaurant called Fixture.

And speaking of it being that time of year, I’m starting to think about my end-of-year giving. I feel very fortunate to live in a city where it’s so easy to get my culture fix, thanks to the abundance of high-quality music, theater and dance companies. So I was quite surprised to find out that, among the 60 largest cities in the United States, Milwaukee ranks No. 58 in public funding for the arts. There are, of course, so many different types of organizations that need charitable contributions, and who you choose to support is a very personal decision. But if you, like me, are a lover of the arts, you might consider donating to your favorite cultural organization this season. As Chad Bauman, managing director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, so eloquently puts it, “For all that we do, our most valuable contribution is that we create bridges between disparate groups, fill gaps in cultural understanding, broaden worldviews and remind each other that we’re all in this together.” An important message indeed.

Carole Nicksin

‘Culture Crush’ appears in the November issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning October 31, or buy a copy at

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Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.