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The vibrantly colored mural was created by local students working in partnership with artist Erick Ledesma.

2016 saw Black Cat Alley, an outdoor art gallery, open on the city’s East Side. In 2017, Sculpture Milwaukee brought a flurry of arty activity to Wisconsin Avenue and five female artists brightened up Kinnickinnic Avenue.

And the public art projects keep coming. Several more have already launched this year, the latest being a large-scale mural located at the Mitchell Street branch of the Milwaukee Public Library.

With support from the nonprofit organization Artists Working in Education and MPL, local artist Erick Ledesma met with area teens to design and realize the mural, which “touches on the ideas of personal home, culture and history,” according to Ledesma. “The interns were provided prompts that guided and influenced their visual creations. They collectively worked on a composition that best represented how their different stories co-exist.”

Mitchell Street Library Mural

Patrons of the Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell Street location gather in Studio M, the makers space in the lower level of the new library. When the technology equipment is not in use, the garage doors display murals designed by teens. Photo by AWE Program Director John Kowalczyk.

The mural is the first in a series of projects funded by the National Endowment of the Arts as part of an “Our Town” grant created to fund Gathering Art, Stories and Place, a community project housed at the Mitchell Street library.

“Our Mitchell Street Branch is the perfect site to bring together so many artists and residents to celebrate the energy and diversity of Historic Mitchell Street,” says Milwaukee Public Library Director Paula Kiely. “We are so excited to showcase and celebrate the richness of our talent right here at home.”

Mitchell Street Library mural

Teens from the library internship program work to piece together their digitally designed murals. Photo by AWE Program Director John Kowalczyk.

On Friday, July 13, Artists Working in Education are teaming up with Ex Fabula to host a public party, from 3-5 p.m., with foods, art-making activities, a photo booth and a story exchange booth.

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