Now that the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA championship and brought the community together, the franchise wants to make sure its message of unity is still prominent throughout Milwaukee, even when the basketball is off the court. The Art of Flavor is making sure that happens.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey partnered up on a mural initiative called the Art of Flavor that aims to celebrate Milwaukee’s rich history and diverse communities.
The Art of Flavor commissioned four artists including Milwaukee Bucks alum and celebrity artist Desmond Mason, alongside local artists Aisha Valentin, Tia Richardson and Ruben Alcantar to paint four neighborhood murals around the city. They are inspired by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, Tennessee Honey and Tennessee Fire and reflect the rich culture and history of Milwaukee. They also promote the city’s pride and unity as well as the multiple facets of Milwaukee’s diverse Black, Latino and LGBTQ communities.
“When I was asked to do this by the Bucks and Jack Daniels partnership, it was a no-brainer,” Mason said. “I love Milwaukee.
Mason was a 2001 Slam Dunk Champion and played for the Bucks from 2002-2005 and again during the 2008-2009 season. After he retired his NBA career in 2009, he switched out his basketball for a paint brush to further his passion as an artist.
Mason is painting The Art of Flavor “Unity Mural,” which will be unveiled after a short program on Thursday. It’s located at 1335 N. M.L.K. Jr. Dr. The mural draws inspiration from Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Apple and Tennessee Fire to highlight unity across the city. It features silhouettes, the Milwaukee Bucks logo and the message, “We are better together.”
“It’s a very clear message, we are better together,” Mason said. “I just hope it’s in the back of people’s minds as they walk through and go out and if someone’s having a crappy day, they take the message and move past that and just do good.”
All the Milwaukee-based artists’ painted barrels will be auctioned off to raise money for nonprofit organizations.
Tia Richardson’s mural is inspired by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and captures the essence of Milwaukee’s Black Community. It is located at 2377 Holton Ave. Aisha Valentin is a muralist and graphic designer who drew inspiration from Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire to highlight the pride of the Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ community. Her mural is located at 818 S 2nd St. Ruben Alcantar used Tennessee Apple to represent and celebrate the history and culture of Milwaukee’s Latino community. His mural can be found at 631 S. 6th St.