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.
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.
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.