Celebrating Milwaukee's Diversity
Off the Cuff with Granville BID Executive Director Mary Hoehne
It’s no secret that Milwaukee is an extremely diverse, though segregated, city. We celebrate the many cultures that call our city home through the array of ethnic festivals throughout the summer. While these festivals celebrate individual groups, Mary Hoehne, executive director of the Granville Business Improvement District—which includes the area from Good Hope Road to W. Brown Deer Road between 91st and 124 streets—set out to showcase all of Milwaukee’s diverse cultures in one event. That was the birth of “Grandioso,” a multicultural arts festival that will be held on Saturday, June 3 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Grandioso’s lineup includes reggae from Unity the Band, The NuBlu Band (featuring Carlise Guy, daughter of Chicago blues artist Buddy Guy), award-winning dance group The Gravity Benders, local actor Delvyn Crawford and The Heritage Chorale of Milwaukee. Off the Cuff caught up with Hoehne about the event and what sets Granville apart from other Milwaukee neighborhoods.
What are you most personally excited about for the event?
The lineup of entertainment is great. We have acts that do not perform at all the other events, which again makes this special. I am also excited about the possibilities in year two, three and beyond. This year, we concentrated on music and performing arts; as we evolve, we will grow with the visual arts and community participation. There is a wonderful festival in Arizona that I envision Grandioso becoming in the future. Stay tuned. But attend this year and be here for the start of what will be one of Milwaukee’s best festivals.
What do you feel makes Granville special?
Granville is home to people from all cultures and welcomes people to celebrate blending cultures and the richness of multi-ethnicity. Granville is also an area that has true potential for people looking to make roots in Milwaukee and buy homes and condos. We have homes that are in secluded, beautiful neighborhoods that resemble suburbia for less than $100,000. We are close to the shopping meccas of the suburbs, close to jobs and close to Downtown. Location, location; we are a great location for the person looking for a home and the business looking to grow.
What do you wish more people knew about Granville?
Granville is a neighborhood that has vitality, energy, jobs and a very diverse population in both income and background. It is a neighborhood that is thriving despite old perceptions that have become entrenched in the mindset of many. Facts show that Granville has a very low crime rate and has a daytime population exceeding 36,000 and growing. Its industrial base continues to grow, senior facilities thrive, old commercial businesses succeed and car dealers drive the retail economy. Its problems are not alone compared to areas developed around large shopping malls and the explosion of strip malls surrounding the malls. The dead mall syndrome might strangle Granville in the minds of those who do not understand the neighborhood’s strengths and potentials. Quietly, the Granville Business Improvement District has championed changing the image of Granville.
“Grandioso” takes place Saturday, June 3 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the corner of 76th Street and Dean Road. You can find more information at granvillebusiness.org.