Introducing AWE’s newest staff members: Raina Johnson and John Kowalczyk!

Please join us in welcoming Raina and John to our team! Raina will be joining us as AWE’s Donor Stewardship & Storytelling Manager and John will be our new Artist in Residence (AIR) Program Director.

Raina Johnson

Photo Credit: (From left to right) Vogue Dreams MKE, Glenda Mitchell, Pat A. Robinson Photos.

Raina’s bio:

Prior to joining AWE, Raina J. Johnson was an associate at Nation Consulting, where they completed various marketing, writing and project work for a wide range of clients.

Raina has extensive media experience working as a journalist, and freelance writer.  They have published work in Metroparent Magazine, and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Raina has also done freelance work with Athena Communications, and worked as a legislative aide for two State Representatives.

Raina graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in 2010 with Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English. They currently serve as a board member of 9to5 Wisconsin and Ex Fabula. Raina is the parent of a magical 7 year old son, Elijah, and Raina enjoys spending their “freetime” with friends, on the yoga mat and in the community.


John Kowalczyk

You’ll recognize him from several of our projects in the past including the Health Equity Mural on Cesar Chavez and Scott, and the mural at Doerfler Elementary School.

John’s Bio:

Born in Chicago, John Kowalczyk lives and works in Milwaukee, WI as a community artist, and educator. Kowalczyk received his BFA in painting from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2010, and began a three year residency with RedLine Milwaukee. At RedLine, John curated gallery exhibitions and developed a passion for community art while working on the Art Express Program in collaboration with the Milwaukee Art Museum from 2011-2013. In 2014, John began working with Artists Working in Education Inc.  as a lead artist in AWE’s AIR programs, and quickly became enamored with the entire process of public art. The Mitchell Park Mural, Doerfler Intersection Mural, and Health Equity Mural are a few highlights of the work he has accomplished with A.W.E. as a lead artist over the past three years.

Kowalczyk has also worked with a number of local arts programs including Arts at Large, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and  most recently ArtWorks for Milwaukee as a lead artist educator. His desire to serve the nonprofit arts sector is immense and his breadth of program knowledge in art education and community art will serve him well in his role as Program Director for Artists Working in Education, Inc. In his free time, Kowalczyk has an active fine art practice and regularly shows at galleries and museums around the world. His work has been exhibited at The Museum of Wisconsin Art, The Kholer Art Center, The Siena Art Institute in Italy, and The Charles Allis Museum along with other galleries and museums.