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Spring Arts Guide 2017: A Home for the Arts in Milwaukee

Feb. 21, 2017
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When the Shepherd Express moved to the Marshall Building in January 2006, the Third Ward landmark remained a half-empty space with more potential than tenants. In the years since, the Marshall Building turned into a hub for visual arts in Milwaukee and an engine of Third Ward renovation. For many Gallery Night patrons, the Marshall Building is ground zero. And with 3rd Fridays, the building has its own mini gallery night on the third Friday of each month.

Built in the early years of the last century as a produce warehouse serving nearby Commission Row, the Marshall Building was purchased by the grandfather of current owner Bob DeToro after World War II. DeToro recalls that the building was already envisioned as “an incubator for small creative businesses and people” as far back as the late ’70s. Photographers were among the early creative tenants and by the time DeToro began redeveloping the building in 2006, the Elaine Erickson Gallery was opening on the ground floor.

Galleries continue to be prominent tenants alongside ad agencies, commercial design consortiums, architects, an art restorer, a boutique bakery and a newspaper. And while the Marshall Building remains a place where art is displayed and sold, it has also become a workplace for Milwaukee artists who insist on a life spent creating beauty and finding meaning at whatever personal costs. According to DeToro, the building houses 25 artist studios where jewelry, sculpture, paintings and other objects are made.

“It’s a building with a great vibe created by the tenants,” DeToro says. “It’s a real vibe—a place where networking goes on. It’s a neighborhood within a neighborhood where everyone knows each other.”

We dedicate the 2017 Spring Arts Guide to our creative neighbors in the Marshall Building, some of whose studios and work is displayed through the photography on these pages.

David Luhrssen
Arts & Entertainment Editor

John Schneider
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

 

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