Museum of Wisconsin Art Draws Upon Wisconsin Artists for Planning

The Museum of Wisconsin Art, 300 So. 6rd Street, West Bend has “Big Fat Plans”, including a day set aside for Wisconsin artists to gather, listen and give their input. By its nature it will be a unique history making opportunity for state artists to meet, share experiences and potentially create opportunities for themselves and their organizations.

The, MWA Vision and Planning Session for Wisconsin Artists, will be held in the museum on Sunday, January 13th, 2008, beginning at 2:00pm, with a snow date of January 20th. This will be a free day at the museum, without entrance fees, providing the ability to see ongoing exhibits. The museum will open at 1:00 allowing for viewing.

The three part program for WI artists and the general public begins with a Wisconsin regional art vision plan presented by Museum Director, Tom Lidtke, who will touch upon the rising ascendancy of American regional art, where WI is in relationship with this national trend, and how to define WI art and artists. There will be discussion of how the museum is planning to develop exhibitions, collections, archives and education and where things are now on this path to the future. There will likely be some brief report about progress on the capital campaign, endowment, and the projected operating budget

The museum staff hopes to be responsive to the suggestions of artists, artist groups, art historians, curators and the general public and incorporate the best of ideas that they have to offer.

The second part of this program, The MWA Facility Plan, will be presented by the designer of the new building Milwaukee architect, Jim Shields of Hammel, Green, Abrahamson (HGA) who is also architectural design professor at UWM. Jim will speak about trends today in modern art museums, his modular design and the limitations he faced in coming up with the best possible solution. There will be a visual walkthrough of the proposed structure which takes the museum from 19,000 to 32,000 square feet.

The last part of the day’s program is The Listening Session during which artist feedback, suggestions and ideas will be sought in an open microphone period. Comments will be recorded and potentially incorporated into museum operating plans. The staff is open to hearing what artists have to say about facility, programs and grounds use. It is expected that the program will not go over 90 minutes. Director Lidtke will moderate and the Assistant Director, Graeme Reid, plus the architect, Jim Hammel, will be available to answer questions or build upon statements and ideas.

This event may be one of the most important historical opportunities in our state that relates to WI art, and may be the most diverse gathering of artists and artist groups ever to assemble in WI. There will be limits on seating, so participants are encouraged to arrive early and enjoy the numerous exhibits, including the newly unveiled huge mural, recently restored, by John Steuart Curry. This was the last work by Curry, completed 10 days before his death in 1946.

Artists and representatives of artist organizations seeking more information or reserving seats are encouraged to contact Elly Pick, Director of Development and Marketing/Media Relations, at 262-334-9638, or email her at

Architect's rendering of the proposed museum building
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