Bronzeville Center for the Arts moves forward to next phase

NOW: Bronzeville Center for the Arts moves forward to next phase

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- A series of projects are in the works that aim to revitalize Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood and one just cleared a major hurdle.

The Bronzeville Center for the Arts (BCA) is moving to its next phase of planning after the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee approved the sale of the former DNR building located on King Drive and N. North Avenue.

Tuesday, during a virtual public meeting led by Sixth District Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Bronzeville leaders shared updates on many projects and initiatives in the area, including Vel R. Phillips and Meinecke Ave, artist housing cluster by HomeWorks: Bronzeville, ThriveOn King project by Royal Capital, America’s Black Holocaust Museum, and the Gallery 507 Project by the Bronzeville Center for the Arts.

The BCA will be housed in two buildings, 507 W. North Avenue and 517 W. North Avenue. “One is a vacant building that has been considered blighted for more than a decade, and next to that building is land that is currently owned by the city of Milwaukee,” said Deshea Agee, who is part of the planning team.

The project is moving forward after approval of a $1.6 million sale of the property by an anonymous donor, who will donate the building to the nonprofit arts center for a planning office, meeting space, and much more. "Accommodating art exhibitions, performances, essentially this is an interdisciplinary venue,” said Agee.

The BCA will operate as an arts and cultural center focused on highlighting Black artists. In addition to celebrating art, the center will be an education hub and build on Bronzeville’s legacy. “This location was chosen because it sits in the middle of Bronzeville,” said Agee. It’s part of ongoing efforts to contribute to cultural and economic growth in Bronzeville.

Creating a space that merges art, culture, and community is the goal. “Black institutions are rare in some cases where they have the sustainability. We want to make sure we can coexist with other organizations as they build and as they begin to fulfill some of their very own goals," said Mutòpe Johnson, artist and project manager.

In all, 3.4 acres will house the Bronzeville Center for the Arts. Work on the existing building should be complete by this fall.

The second building, which will be the actual gallery, should be complete by next spring.

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