Love Note #2: Summertime and Settling In

Today marks my 45th day in Milwaukee. Time is flying by and again, this love note is coming two weeks later than I originally hoped to send it.

After 45 days of being in Milwaukee this summer, I have a huge statement to make: Milwaukee just might be the best place to spend summer. This is if the weather cooperates of course, and this year I got lucky because the weather has been absolutely perfect. This has led me to take part in so many outdoor activities. More festivals including an excursion to Strawberry festival out in Cedarburg. I've spent time playing outside like a kid– biking, swinging on swings, playing in the sand, playing bocce in the dark, even learning how to skateboard and yes, playing PokemonGO (yep, I joined the craze and I have no shame about it)! I have come to love Lake Michigan and while it still doesn't compare to the ocean, I find a lot of comfort having daily access to such a large body of water. For those who know me, my favorite holiday is July 4th, simply because it's a holiday that takes place in the summer, and the fireworks here were no disappointment. I went through a Milwaukee rite of passage and went to Summerfest for the first time and I got to see Garbage - the angsty teenager in me was SUPER pumped. I enjoyed local music outside at Jazz in the Hood in Bronzeville and on Chill on the Hill in Bayview. So much outdoor summer fun! And I'm excited for what the rest of the summer has in store.

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That being said, I have to take a moment to write about a really exciting indoor activity that happened in the last three weeks. I had the opportunity to perform my newest work perception. here in Milwaukee. I performed it at Jazale's Art Studio which is an awesome art space that houses both youth arts programming as well as professional artist's studios and shows (like mine!). Jazale's is a place that almost immediately felt comfortable to me which made it that much more exciting to have it be the first host site for my piece here in Milwaukee. The last time I performed perception. was back in January and the nerves hit me this time more than they had ever before. Partly because of the time I had away from it but also because I had spent three weeks getting to know and really respect the people that showed up for me that night. It was hard not to wonder, did I have what it took to impress these people? I'll let them be the judge but what I can say is that somehow in a place far away from anywhere I've called home I felt so supported. About 20 people came out to participate, watch and take part in conversation with me on June 25th and I was incredibly moved by the level of respect I was shown and engagement I had from my audience.

Photo by Adam Carr

Photo by Adam Carr

Being an artist can be incredibly tough sometimes. It's a life of being okay with constant rejection. I spend so much time applying to different things only to be told "no" or "sorry, apply again next time" over and over and over. It's hard not to want to give up sometimes but then out of nowhere someone says, "yes" and gives you a chance to do what you do and you remember why it's all worth it. And that is really what has been so amazing these last 45 days is being told yes. And sharing my very personal work with people here in Milwaukee hasn't been the only chance people have given me. I've been allowed to come work as a creative placemaking consultant on an incredible neighborhood development project. I've been invited onto a Riverwest Radio show, All the Things (listen to me talk for a whole hour by clicking here!) I was asked to be a mentor to a teenager who is already an incredible leader in her community at the age of fourteen. I have been welcome into an amazing group of female artists who gather every month to have poignant and thoughtful discussions and critiques. This group that comes together around the name femTALK is even taking a chance on me to let me host the next meeting. I have been invited to live in this incredible house and help it be a place where creativity and innovation can transpire. And I can't even get into the amazing people I've met, who I am lucky to now call friends, who invite me to do cool things and hang out with me into crazy hours of the night (or I guess, morning). In just 45 days, I've been given so much from this wonderful city and I will attempt to give as much as I can back.

Thanks Milwaukee, I think I just might stick around.

Love Note #1: Top 3 in 3 weeks

I was hoping to write my first note just after my arrival here in Milwaukee but Milwaukee does not joke around when it comes to good weather. There is something to do outside almost every day and on the weekends, the options seem limitless. It almost makes you feel bad for staying inside and binge watching terribly addicting television shows – but don't worry, I still found a way to sneak some binge watching in and on that note, I highly recommend everyone watch the show UnReal.

I could say so much in this first love note from the great midwest but as to note right a love novel I'll default to my love of list making and writing about the top three highlights from the last three weeks! 

1. Festivals, food and fun
Like I said, it's been nonstop festivals and festival-like activities out here in Milwaukee. So far, I've been to Bayview Gallery Night which had an outdoor food truck bonanza component, Locust Street Festival, NEWaukee's Night Market, Buck's Block Party and Juneteenth Day. And I honestly feel like I might be missing something but even just that list is pretty impressive since I've only been here for 21 days...

I have to say that out of all these my favorite so far was the Locust Street Festival – everything you love about a street fair - funnel cake and all! Which east coast friends, does funnel cake exist in the north east? Am I crazy? I only remember eating fried dough and this may have been my first time actually eating fried dough's fancier twin sister, the funnel cake. Anyway, what made this festival way better than any old street fair, however, was all the great live music to check out! My Boston music-loving crew would have totally digged this and I missed ya all to pieces specifically during this festival. On top of all this greatness, it was all free! Well, minus the funnel cake, of course.

While the funnel cake was quite delicious because you can't really go wrong when you deep fry things my actual favorite treat was found at Night Market at Pete's popsicle stand. I got a thai iced tea popsicle and it's still blowing my mind.

2. Art inside
Right when I got here I attended an art show with musical performances, A.D.H.D. Adventures. This was curated by two artists, Manny Vibe$ (Emmanuel Grant) & Winter Fareaux Hiatus (Julian Miller). I actually got to hang with both of them as they got ready for their show. It was fun to see it all come together and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the level of talent the two were able to pull together for an evening of art and music. It was a two day event but I was only able to attend one night but from the word on the street both days were a success. And clearly the way to my heart is through tasty treats so I fully appreciated that snow cones were being served. Another added bonus: they set up a selfie station so one could take a selfie of oneself eating said snow cone...

3. Art outside
Just this past weekend another art show called Temporary Resurfacing went up for one night only on two city blocks of West Historic Mitchell Street. There were over 30 artists who put up video projections around the streets inside store fronts, on buildings and in alleys. It was fun to be outside and engage with both the art in the public but all the other people out and about viewing the work. I met a ton of people, ran into people I've been meeting for the last few weeks and just got to spend time with the few friends I have made here checking out some pretty cool and different work!

Well, folks, that's all the love I got this time. 

xoxo

Work by artists: Namoi Shersty and Xav Leplae

Work by artists: Namoi Shersty and Xav Leplae

Love Notes From Milwaukee

While I have longed to figure out how to live the bicoastal life, in less than a week I head out to the great midwest! I'll be setting up shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the summer. I was invited to be an artist in residence with MKE<->LAX and work part-time on various projects out there. Living anywhere but the coasts wasn't something I ever thought about but when the opportunity to work with some cool artists and focus on my own practice out there presented itself, I couldn't say no. I've spent a handful of weekends in Milwaukee and I've got to say, it's a pretty rad place so I'm excited to get explore it more and call it home for a little while. And since it's been quite some time since I last blogged, I figured this was a good time to get back into it and document my time in the middle of the country!