NEWaukee won a Joyce Award for TypeFace, a public art project to be executed within four urban neighborhoods in Milwaukee, WI. The project partners were both Reginald Baylor, a nationally recognized artist and former Joyce Award recipient, along with storyteller and media producer, Adam Carr.The objective of TypeFace is to provoke a broader understanding of Milwaukee’s diverse urban neighborhoods, both internally and externally, through the creation of bold and striking visuals based on community-generated narratives. This project is not about distributing new seeds in a community or rising from the ashes — it’s about self-actualization and harnessing the rich imagination of residents engaged and invested in some of Milwaukee’s oldest, most distinct and most culturally rich neighborhoods.The canvas for TypeFace will be unused, boarded-up architectural icons along high-traffic areas in four low-income Milwaukee neighborhoods. The sites will be within the following neighborhoods: Layton Boulevard West, Sherman Park, Lindsey Heights and Harambee.
First, a series of prompts were rolled out through a sustained, multi-platform approach, employing physical canvassing, social media, school workshops and community outreach programs. A wide range of voices and perspectives sought, capturing the unique personality and rhythm of the neighborhood surrounding each staging site. Accordingly, prompts were tailored to each community, focusing on themes of investment, ownership and possibility. Questions may include, but were not limited to: Why here? What’s next? Who are you?
The results of the collection process continuously fed the production of visuals, in the form of typographical murals tailored to the spaces in each neighborhood. Thus allowing the community to converge on the single icon that exhibits their neighborhood to the outside world, and showcases what it really means to be a part of their community and what the future holds in a tangible, artistic and meaningful manner.
In both collection and distribution, TypeFace leveraged a range of traditional and new media platforms, as well as engage community organizations within the chosen neighborhoods. More importantly, the project offers an outlet for a community to redefine and publicize to the city at large its own self-definition and aspirations. The project enacted in four different urban communities, with four distinct characters and exhibition platforms.
For more information about TypeFace, please visit: www.typefacemke.com.