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Historic Mitchell Street Speaks!

Artists Sonja Thomsen and Adam Carr honor the heritage

Jun. 10, 2014
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A city is a living organism. It adapts to its environment (e.g. Milwaukee has just emerged from a long winter hibernation), it consumes in order to regenerate and grow (e.g. tax dollars to maintain and develop infrastructure) and it possesses different levels of organization (e.g. the topographical organization of neighborhoods, the political hierarchy of government, etc.). Yes, Milwaukee is a body and each of us is one of its 598,916 cells.

Time was when Mitchell Street was one of the city’s most vital arteries. Its Candy Raisin factory indulged America’s sweet tooth, the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church reverberated with the prayers of thousands of Polish immigrants and—after 96 years—the shoulders of Milwaukee are still hirsute with the pelts of Holzman Furs.

After years of economic atrophy, Mitchell Street once again bends our ear. “Listening to Mitchell” is a multifaceted art project by artists Sonja Thomsen and Adam Carr. After 18 months of interviews and research, the artists have crafted an aesthetic-experience-on-the-go that leads viewers throughout the seven-block stretch of S. Fifth to 12th streets. Framed against the historic architecture, along the way we encounter images ranging from 20-foot murals to 5-inch photographs. To whet your appetite, dial 414-921-2622 for stories told by residents past and present.


“Meet the Artist: JoAnna Poehlmann”

Coquette Café

316 N. Milwaukee St.

While it is not a proper art gallery, the Coquette Cafe is an apt location to make the acquaintance of JoAnna Poehlmann; the urbanity of the Third Ward eatery befits the prestige of a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters. Poehlmann’s induction was earned by the expert draftsmanship with which she renders animals, plants and other assorted natural phenomena with the precision and élan of Audubon’s Bird’s of America. June 13 from 5-7 p.m. is your opportunity to shake the hand that holds the pencils and to try to poach a protip or two.


“The American Road”

Harley-Davidson Museum

400 W. Canal St.

If cross-country travel has lost much of its danger—when was the last time you lost one of your oxen while trying to ford a river?—it has lost none of its romance. “The American Road,” opening at the Harley-Davidson Museum on June 14, documents the evolution of the iconic American road trip. Past eras are powerfully recalled by photographs, film footage, slide shows, a 1962 Ford Country Squire station wagon, a mid-1950s 11-foot-tall Siesta Motel neon sign and a late-1930s house car. The exhibition runs through Sept. 1 and access is included with general museum admission (between $10 and $18).


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