MKE IT Downtown

Meet the Muralist: Tia Richardson Creates a Community with Her Art

September 2, 2020 /   Tia Richardson Milwaukee Downtown

Adding color to enliven the pedestrian experience underneath the freeway, four artists, each with a Milwaukee connection, are transforming the Broadway freeway piers into Milwaukee's newest outdoor art gallery. 

One of the goals of the Brighten the Passage project is to connect the Third Ward and Downtown spaces. This goal and the big “why” of the project are what inspired Tia Richardson.  

Mural Milwaukee DowntownRichardson's mural acknowledges I-794’s history as a divider of these spaces and used those same divisive roads in her mural as connectors. She states, “The roads connect all of us through transportation. We’re all part of one community.”

Throughout the mural, buses, bikes, cars and even rollerskates are depicted. The people represented are those that live and work in the space. The bike courier to the businessperson, all on different types of transportation. There is a story in the work, of how we all live, work and play in these spaces.   

Richardson works with a variety of "helpers" in her work. From students to up-and-coming young professional artists. The assistants have completed much of the lower part of the mural and work directly with Richardson to create her vision. 

To show how important Downtown’s community is, Richardson has added a heart to the mural, can you find it?  

Brighten the Passage muralists include Tia Richardson, The Couto Brothers, Dave Watkins (Real Abstract), and Josie Rice. Follow our progress on social media, or share your experience using #brightenthepassage.  

About the Author: Claire Neville is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Special Project Intern with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, advancing downtown's strategic priorities in the realm of economic development and public space management.  

Posted in:  Arts & Culture