Jumpst(ART) Downtown

Express Yourself, Downtown!

Reviving the Heart of the City with Arts & Culture 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 produced Jumpst(ART) Downtown, an economic recovery initiative that supported arts and culture, while reviving the heart of the city with free performances, temporary public art installations, and murals in the summer of 2021. In addition to bringing some much-needed joy to the community, the initiative supported nearly 100 local, national, and international artists to leave their mark on downtown. 

Downtown became a canvas for creative expression, with new murals, sculptures, plein air painting and street performances from sunrise to sunset. The campaign was launched with the unveiling of "Massimals MKE: Rainbow" by artist Jason Scroggin in June and concluded with a tour stop of "Inside Out 11M" by French artist JR in August.

Inside Out 11M

Artist: JR
What: Temporary Public Art Installation
Where: Chase Tower at Water & Wisconsin's RiverWalk 
When: August 27, 2021

After winning the TED Prize in 2011, French-artist JR launched the Inside Out Project. Using his own artistic practice as inspiration, this participatory platform helps individuals and communities to make a statement by displaying large-scale black and white portraits in public spaces. Through their "Actions," communities around the world have sparked collaborations and conversations.

Over the past decade, more than 400,000 people spanning across 138 countries have participated in the Inside Out Project. The project has reached all continents, with over 2,000 actions created. In Milwaukee, 186 people participated in the one-day installation, which served to elevate immigration reform with local representation from Voces de la Frontera. 

What Lifts You

Artist: Kelsey Montague 
What: Interactive Street Art
Where: UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena

With support from the Wisconsin Center District, a peacock now graces the north facade of the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Completed over Independence Day weekend in July 2021, this one-of-a-kind photo op by internationally-recognized street artist Kelsey Montague celebrates self-expression, integrity, and pride. These qualities are also mirrored in the Wisconsin Center District's values: "Be Bold. Be Proud. Be Experience Obsessed." 

The mural is Montague's only mural in Wisconsin and joins her growing collection of 300 murals worldwide as part of the "What Lifts You" project. 

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Schlitz Park Mural

Artist: Greg Gossel
What: Permanent Mural
Where: Schlitz Park 

Spanning nearly 10,000 sq. ft., Wisconsin-based artist Greg Gossel transformed the Schlitz Park powerhouse with downtown's largest mural to date. After a public request for proposals was issued in late 2020, the ownership of Schlitz Park, along with the Downtown Placemaking Task Force and various Schlitz Park tenants, selected Gossel for this massive undertaking.

The design celebrates "the beer that made Milwaukee famous," our manufacturing heritage, and our water connection. The mural is part of a $6 million renovation of the office park. 

Visitors are encouraged to tag Schlitz Park and use #MilwaukeeFamous on social media.

Art in the Park

Artists: Various Local Artists
Where: Red Arrow Park 
What: Temporary Public Art Installations
When: July & August 2021

With support from MGIC and the Herzfeld Foundation, Milwaukee Downtown and the Downtown Placemaking Task Force commissioned over a dozen local artists for a new park activation series called "Art in the Park." In July and August, local artists expressed their creativity with live canvas painting and temporary chalk murals on the plaza. In addition, colorful new banners, designed by Emma Daisy Gertel, were installed around the rink in August. 

Participating artists included Sara Bott, Drew York, Erico Ortiz, John Kowalczyk, Ken Brown, Kimberly Burnett, Shelley Heath, Iz Salvia, Teresa Sahar, K. Dyble Thompson, and Nima Ghazai. 

    Building More Pride

    Artist: Teresa Sahar
    What: Temporary Streetcar Shelter Installation
    When: June - August 2021

    In partnership with the Wisconsin Center District, three of The Hop's streetcar shelters received larger-than-life portraits of Milwaukee legends who have undoubtedly built more pride for our city. The campaign featured portraits of Hank Aaron, Vel R. Phillips, and Gene Wilder, by local artist Teresa Sahar, in the months leading up to the groundbreaking of the convention center expansion. 

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    Massimals MKE: Rainbow

    Artist: Jason Scroggin
    What: Temporary Public Art Installation
    Where: Cathedral Square Park
    When: January - October 2021

    Just in time to celebrate Pride Month in June 2021, Massimals MKE, by artist Jason Scroggin of Scroggin Studio, made their triumphant return to Cathedral Square Park for the summer. The popular polar bears that inhabited the park over the winter transformed with a playful and colorful sequence in the summer. Appropriately rebranded to "Massimals MKE: Rainbow," presented by PNC Bank, the temporary sculpture installation kicked off a series of Pride Month activations in celebration with the local LGBTQ+ community, including a "Ride with Pride" campaign on The Hop streetcar and MCTS. 

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    True Colors

    Artist: Josephine Rice
    What: Temporary Chalk Mural
    Where: Marcus Performing Arts Center
    When: June - August 2021 

    With support from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, "True Colors" by Milwaukee-native Josephine Rice transformed the Marcus Performing Arts Center's RiverWalk boat landing steps into an eye-catching, temporary chalk mural featuring 40+ colors in the composition.


    What: Live Street Performances
    Where: East Town, Westown, and Historic Third Ward
    When: August 6 - 8, 2021 

    Downtown streets filled with music once again during the first-ever Buskerfest, a three-day free music festival held during the USA Triathlon, August 6 - 8, 2021. Various tourist attractions, including the Bronze Fonz, Milwaukee Public Market, and several Sculpture Milwaukee sites, were activated with the help of 60+ local musicians and artists.

    Approximately 2,500 guests enjoyed moments of "surprise and delight" from sunrise to sunset, with genres ranging from hip hop and R&B, jazz, Americana, acoustic, funk and soul. 

    Photo: Orlando Peña performs at Jumpst(ART) Downtown (2021) 

    See the Lineup Here

    Tatay's Truck

    Artist: Emma Daisy Gertel
    What: Food Truck Wrap

    There's nothing more synonymous with summer in the city than the return of food trucks downtown. Making its debut in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Meat on the Street's rebranded food truck, Tatay's Truck, features an original design by local artist Emma Daisy Gertel. 

    "Tatay" means "father" in Tagalog. Symbols in the mural include family generations passing down traditions; the Filipino sun, representing liberty; three stars, representing the three big islands of the Philippines; Sampaguita, the national flower of the Philippines; and banana leaves, a traditional method of cooking and serving Filipino cuisine. Visit Tatay's Truck for this unique intersection of street eats and street art! 

    Visit Other Community Art Installations