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Fighting for the Arts

Pamela Anderson on the Milwaukee Artists Resource Network

Jun. 24, 2013
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Milwaukee has always had an arts community but finding money to support the arts has often been a challenge. The Milwaukee Artists Resource Network is an organization doing everything it can to keep artists working. We spoke to MARN president Pamela Anderson about the organization.


What is MARN? 

The Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) is a nonprofit art-service organization that provides professional development tools to the creative class.


What is the main goal/credo/role of MARN in the community?

To help creatives attain the next level of professional practice, whether they are emerging, mid-level or established. We work with artists at all levels to assist them in establishing a sustainable practice.


How did MARN get started? 

It was founded in 2000 after the Wisconsin Arts Board, in partnership with the Milwaukee Arts Board, convinced the Urban Artist’s Initiative to assess the needs of local artists. Those meetings identified the need for an organization to help artists, across disciplines, with the business side of art. Most major cities have an organization like MARN but few have programming as comprehensive as ours.


Which programs appeal to you most?

MARN has received tremendous response from the Milwaukee arts community for the MARNsalons. They provide opportunities for conversing with highly respected cultural thinkers on innovative, relevant topics in contemporary art with respect to regional production. The 2012-2013 visiting curators and critics included Michelle Grabner, upcoming curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial and co-founder of the Poor Farm; Pamela Fraser, assistant professor of studio art at the University of Vermont and co-founder of the former He Said She Said Gallery in Chicago; Pedro Velez, artist and critic based in Chicago; and Wilhelm van Rensberg of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, research fellow at the Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) Research Centre and curator for Gallery AOP in Johannesburg.


You recently moved to the Third Ward. Why? 

Because it’s a cultural hub where the arts are thriving. We also partner with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) and other local arts organizations and this location will allow us to be even more engaged with them. 


What do you see in MARN’s future? 

To take MARN to new levels in offering the educational resources and business development practices we currently offer while expanding how and where we offer them.


Besides the move, are there other changes in store? 

The move is our biggest change right now. There are other changes in the works that we can’t unveil yet but will very soon.


Where could a person go to learn more?

Those not familiar with MARN can check out at artsinmilwaukee.org. They’ll get information on MARN and Milwaukee's creative class with profiles of our members and the broader creative community.


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