Tom Crawford, station director

WMSE Presents: Art & Music

Get ready for a night of live art and DJ’d jams.

A staple of Milwaukee’s music scene for the past 35 years, 91.7 WMSE is a listener-supported radio station known for diverse programming, unearthing deep cuts and creating cool events like Rockabilly Chili and the Backyard BBQ.

For their newest event, simply called Art and Music, more than 200 local artists (or artists with Milwaukee ties) will come together for one night to raise funds for WMSE on Friday, May 19 from 6-10 p.m. at the Historic Pritzlaff Building.

Jay Anderson from Voodoo Honey Records will be curating the music lineup and WMSE DJs will be on hand spinning tunes. Artists like B-Free, Kyndal J, Klassik, Jay Anderson and SistaStrings are all slated to perform. Hi Hat Lounge, Transfer Pizzeria Bar, Merriment Social and food trucks will provide the food and Great Northern Distillery will design craft cocktails.

I spoke with the station’s General Manager Tom Crawford to find out what to expect from this new event.

WMSE Art and Music
Image courtesy of WMSE

JR: What motivated you to create this event, aside from the natural tie between music and art?

TC: We have wanted to do an art-themed event somewhere in the city for years. Over the years, we have realized the deep connection the station has with Milwaukee’s artistic community. You learn over the years that a number of artists are listeners, like cranking the station in their lofts and studios, showing up at shows and events, donating their time as volunteers and even becoming DJs. They, in turn, through their creativity and skills have influenced the way we look, through posters they have designed for us and the art for t-shirts and wearables that artists have helped us with. It’s really a beautiful bond we have with Milwaukee’s art community.

Also, the station serves so many local visual artists working to promote their gallery shows, their performances and their work that gets displayed in galleries.

JR: How many pieces of original artwork total will be auctioned off?

TC: We are hoping to have between 250 to 300 pieces up for auction. It’s all of the art created for the event. We will auction off all of the 12” x 12” boards we get from the artists and also the live art that will be done in the space as well.

Jeff Redmon will live-paint next to graffiti artist Fernando, who will work his magic on a 10-foot wall, and Von Munz will stencil his highly acclaimed pop art. Recent Pfister Artist in Residence Pamela Anderson will also be there.

JR: What the most anticipated part of the event?

 TC: There’s a real-time figure drawing class going on in the middle of the event, complete with a model, and there will be a local graffiti legend tagging outside. Milwaukee Blacksmith will also be outside as well, demonstrating their craft.

The live artists who are donating their skills will also be a treat to watch. We have some artists who are as much performers as they are artists. The live art segment of this event will not disappoint and should not be missed.

There’s a really great group of people outside of the station, including the staff at the Pritzlaff, that are rolling up their collective sleeves to make this a really great event.

Get more information and purchase tickets for this event ($25 in advance or $30 night of).



Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.