I think Milwaukee is a cool city.
I think they do really cool things there. And no, I am not native to Milwaukee, nor am I being paid by the Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau or by it's mayor office. I just think Milwaukee is an awesome place, and I have to tell you about one of the things I saw while I was there.
During a walk to dinner one night, we found ourselves seeking refuge from the 100 degree heat and taking an indoor (and air conditioned) shortcut through the downtown mall that extends blocks of the city. While walking through the mall, I couldn't help but notice how the economy has made a significant impact on the stores in the mall. As we passed one empty store after another, I felt like we were walking in a deserted place.
Then, before my very eyes, I looked down from the second floor atrium, and saw this . . .
Let me turn that around for you . . . and make it a little larger . . .
Make A Parade Workshop? Free?? WHAT?!?!?!
I stood there for a while and watched below at what appeared to be artists were in the midst of creating some amazing things. It looked as if each person has designated work stations protected with large drop cloths, and then various tables of supplies. I could have watched them for hours.
When I returned home from our trip, I researched what was actually going on here, and found the the Milwaukee Public Theatre sponsors these great workshops during various times. You can read more about the program here.
I started thinking about how very very cool this is, and how so many artists would love to have space like this. Not, necessarily, to work on parade floats. But, how cool would it be to have a large, well ventilated and well lit area where you could go and work along side other artists? Each working on your own projects, of course, but in the same space. How wonderful would it be to find little make-shift studios like this one popping up in vacant mall spaces throughout the country? I think it would be oh-so cool.
Phil and the girls were far ahead of me in our walk, and anxious to get to the restaurant for dinner, so I was only able to take a few photos of the site. But I wish I would have taken a few more photos to share with you. There was a great energy there, though . . . and I can truly said that the few moments I spent looking down on them working away filled up my creative pitcher tenfold.
So, do you know anyone in the retail business? Or perhaps in real estate? Maybe someone who is sitting with an empty space somewhere, and losing money daily? Perhaps renting sections of the space out to some artists might not be a bad idea.
Yes, right here my spark was lit . . . and I can't wait to see where it takes me next!
Wishing you peace, my friends!