5×3 Highlight: Escuela Verde

Students at Escuela Verde are working alongside local artist George Jones and Gisela Ortega of Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, to design their 5×3 project. They have chosen to focus on the topics of anti-consumerism and environmental justice. They will be proposing to create a vending machine made out of recycled materials. Instead of money, the vending machine will accept generosity, kindness, positivity, and respect. Instead of candy or soda, it will dispense uplifting and positive items like small pieces of art, seeds, and words of encouragement.

In the photo above, Escuela Verde students take part in a unity exercise. In this exercise, they unravel string and tie it to a post labeled with a neighborhood issue or project topic they identify with personally. This exercise helps them understand how they are all connected and aids in narrowing down topics and areas of interest for their project.

Escuela Verde students, along with the rest of the 5×3 groups, will reveal their design proposals at our Design Share event to be held later in the month of March.

5×3’s are funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Racial Equity and Inclusion grant, MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities, Milwaukee Arts Board through the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, the Herzfeld Foundation, the Zilber Family Foundation, and the Mary L. Nohl Fund.


Promoting Youth Leadership: 5×3 Update

Neu-Life Community Development teens preparing to interview lead artists

The 2017 5×3 Artist in Residence programs have officially launched! This year we’re working with teens from Neu Life Community Development (Lindsay Heights), La Luz Del Mundo Family Services (Clarke Square), COA Holton Teen Center (Harambee), Our Next Generation High School Connection (Washington Park) and Escuela Verde (Silver City).

The groups have been meeting with artist facilitator Katie Loughmiller, Program Assistant Gabriela Riveros and Community Organizers from each neighborhood to discuss social justice themes, resident engagement, site selection and have interviewed artists to work with them on the design and creation of a public art piece.  The teens have hired a talented group of artists to partner with them on the projects including Jenie Gao, Gabrielle Tesfaye, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, and George Jones.

“I’m excited because I’m glad to actually make something that a lot of people will see and take pictures with. I’m glad to be working with George because I’ve never worked with an artist like this before. We want the community to be peaceful and clean, and we’re going to help make that happen with this project.”Amenah Crosby, age 13, Escuela Verde, 2017 5×3 participant.

Topics the teens have chosen this year include environmental justice and sustainability, food security, gun violence and a neighborhood’s cultural history and identity.

The 5×3 Artist in Residence programs invite Milwaukee youth to experience the entire process of creating public art. They reflect on issues facing them and their community, consult with key decision makers in their neighborhoods and decide on an issue to inform their project. They then interview and hire a professional lead artist, collectively form a concept for their project, and get to work creating it. The real magic happens when youth see the impact that public art can have on a community, when they take pride in their message and their contribution to their community.

5×3’s are funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Racial Equity and Inclusion grant, MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities, Milwaukee Arts Board through the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, the Herzfeld Foundation, the Zilber Family Foundation, and the Mary L. Nohl Fund.


Announcing a partnership with NEWaukee!

We’re thrilled to announce our 2017 partnership with NEWaukee! A.W.E. was chosen as one of the five NEWaukee Non Profit Partnership that each highlight what makes Milwaukee great. Throughout the year, A.W.E. will be involved in NEWaukee programming and they will promote our organization to their network through weekly newsletters, social media, and on their website. Together, we hope to “create a deeper impact on the communities and people we all serve.”
Stay tuned for our exciting projects with NEWaukee in 2017!

Join us for playground vision meetings with MKE PLAYS #COMEPLAYMKE

These playgrounds will be reconstructed as part of the MKE Plays initiative, and we need your help to create a new vision for the space!

mkeplaysWe encourage individuals of all ages to come share your thoughts and ideas about the park. Light refreshments will be provided. The Artists Working in Education Truck Studio will also be on hand to provide kids with fun activities and capture their creativity!

MKE Plays is an initiative of 10th District Alderman, Michael J. Murphy.




Monday, December 8th @ 6:30-8:30PM

Meeting held at: Marquette University High School. 3306 W. Michigan st. (PARKING AVAILABLE IN LOT)


Monday, December 12th @ 6:30-8:30PM

Meeting held at: Greenfield Bilingual School, 1711 S. 35th St. Spanish translation will be available.

More details and updates to come, as we begin our AIR program with neighborhood youth partners to create artwork for the playgrounds!

If you cannot attend a meeting, but would still like to get involved, call 286-8532 or email mkeplays@milwaukee.gov


2016 Holiday Cards and Ornaments are here!

Spread of the joy of love and creativity with our holiday cards and ornaments made by Milwaukee youth and AWE artists.

Get ahead of the game and purchase our holiday cards and ornaments now. Our holiday cards are perfect for your holiday business send to clients or purchase our handmade holiday ornament for your loved ones. All card orders can be customized with a message. If you need more information on your order or have any questions related to customizing an order or quantity number please contact Anne Marie at annemarie@awe-inc.org.

Holiday Cards

Artwork created by Milwaukee Youth with card layout from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design student Brigid Malloy. Perfect for business holiday cards.






This year’s ornament is handmade by local artist, Janelle Gramling. Inspired by the A.W.E. sun, this ornament/totem is made of stoneware, linen, and cotton and it’s about 11 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 1 inch deep. These can be used as a holiday ornament or as a “totem” (wall hanging).





About the Artist

Janelle Gramling is a self-taught fiber and ceramic artist, entrepreneur, historic home restorer, community art activist/educator, stylist, and photographer in Milwaukee, WI. She has collaborated with youth to create public art as a lead artist through our AIR programming.

Gramling’s work is designed and hand-made in her Milwaukee studio. Every season, she pulls work from her experiments in fiber, found object, and ceramics to curate a collection of home decor and wearable adornments revolving around a theme. Inspired by raw natural materials and traditional techniques, her work touches on themes of personal symbolism and sacred geometry with a minimal yet playful aesthetic.

To learn more visit http://janellegramling.com/.


“I was thrilled to be asked to collaborate with AWE on an ornament this season! AWE is an organization that is near and dear to my heart, because they make such a positive impact in the lives of both working artists as well as students and our youth in this city. I always use some kind of symbolism in my fiber and ceramic hanging sculptures. For AWE’s ornament, I decided to use the crescent moon. The latin verb crescere means “to grow”, and the moon has long been a symbol of female creation. So, to me, this crescent is a symbol of growth through creativity”


Janelle with students from Greenfield Bilingual school during AIR programming

Play Canal Street Bingo to benefit local children’s charities


When you play the Canal Street Bingo game at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino now through Dec. 15, you’re helping raise funds for area children’s charities, giving them the gift of a promising future. Half of each $3 or $7 Canal Street Bingo game purchased goes to the Heart of Canal Street fund, which totaled more than $1 million last year!

A.W.E. is excited to be in the running to be a benefiting charity. Visit paysbig.com/heart to learn more!

Stop the Stolies: Honoring Victims of Stolen Car Crashes


Neu-Life Community Development teens began working in January of this year to create a public art project. They talked about different issues they saw in the community and decided to do their project on the topic of joyriding in stolen vehicles. Car theft committed by youth has been on the rise in Milwaukee, often resulting in fatalities. The teens chose artists Ammar Nsoroma and Dario Allen to help realize their creative vision. Together, they learned more about the topic through a session with Safe & Sound’s, Derrick Shoates.

The mural will be a memorial honoring victims of stolen car crashes in Milwaukee. They want the mural to be the last memorial that has to be made. Through this project, they hope to create change by spreading the message that everyone in the community is affected by joy-riding. Neighborhood resident, Renaldo Johnson, is hopeful that the project’s message and the Neu-Life Community Development teens’ presence will be a good influence on youth in the neighborhood, calling the project “a powerful statement.” Dejah Brown, a participant, shares, “We want to let them know that we care. We care about everybody’s life.”

Neu-Life Community Development teens will host a community sharing and painting session on the topic of joy-riding in stolen vehicles. Community members are encouraged to participate in the conversation, the painting of the mural, and learn more about prevention. The event will take place on Thursday, August 18 from 5-6pm at the corner of 19th & Meineke. Artists Working in Education, Inc. (A.W.E.) has partnered with Neu-Life Community Development, Safe & Sound, and artists, Ammar Nsoroma and Dario Allen to create a public mural.

“Stop the Stolies” is one of five 5×3 projects A.W.E. will unveil in five neighborhoods this year as a part of its Artist in Residence program. A.W.E. 5×3 projects challenge teens to identify and address an issue that matters to them through large-scale public artwork. Through the projects, youth gain an understanding of the public art process, talk to key decision makers in their neighborhoods and present their ideas to the wider community. The artists and youth learn from each other and work together, sharing input that shapes the final product.

This project is funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Racial Equity and Inclusion grant, MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities. Special thanks to Derrick Shoates of Safe & Sound for your work on this project.

“Changing the neighborhood landscape”- 15th and Hadley Intersection Mural

Last year, Artists Working in Education (AWE) partnered with several community agencies to host a special project with mural artist Ammar Nsoroma.  Nsoroma and the AWE Artist Team worked with neighborhood children and students enrolled in the Hopkins-Lloyd Community Learning Center (CLC), 1503 W. Hopkins St., to paint a street mural on the intersection of N. 15th St. and W. Hadley St.  Approximately twenty 5th-8th grade students were a part of the mural planning.

The mural is composed of Adinkra symbols of West Africa.  The mural conveys the message that it’s important for members of a community to work together in order to make positive changes. A.W.E. Executive Director, Beth Haskovec, explains the importance of this project by noting, “As an artist and a community leader, Ammar Nsoroma shares African history with young people, and translates that rich history into public art which changes the neighborhood landscape.”

The project also works to make the neighborhood safer for bike traffic. “This mural project is a fantastic way to engage the youth who are taking our Bike Driver’s Ed course at the Hopkins Lloyd CLC in further community building projects relating to the things they learned,” said Jake Newborn, Wisconsin Bike Fed youth education program manager. “We want all Milwaukee residents to see biking as a fun, healthy, convenient and cheap way to get where they need to be or just enjoy a ride.”

Partners for this program include COA Youth & Family Centers, the Wisconsin Bike Federation, and Milwaukee Public Schools. This project was made possible with support from MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities.


Photo by Dave Schlabowske.

Get to Know Our Truck Studio Lead Artists

TomTom Haslett

Bio: Tom was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, but grew up in Milwaukee. He went through MPS for grade school and then studied illustration at MIAD. Tom currently teaches art at Rufus King Elementary School. He has been with A.W.E. on and off for the past ten years. When asked “What do you love most about teaching in Truck Studio?,” Tom replied, “I love that all the things that inhibit the fun of creating art are removed. There’s no grading, no bells, no walls. It’s just you, the child, and the material. It’s just kind of a raw, pure experience. It’s not fettered with all the constraints of a traditional classroom.”



Fun facts about Tom:

  1. Tom has taught in MPS for 9 years!
  2. As a child he loved drawing comics and cartoons
  3. Favorite food is barbeque.
  4. Describes himself as peaceful, creative, and steady.
  5. Loves to roller skate!


MichelleMichelle Renaud

Bio: Michelle was born and raise in Appleton, Wi. She graduated from University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee this past January with a degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Art History. She began working with A.W.E. as a volunteer in 2013 and has since worked as an intern. This is her first summer as a lead artist. When asked “What is your favorite part about being a lead artist at Truck Studio?,” Michelle responded, “It’s fun! I always  feel like I’m bragging when I talk about this job. It’s super rewarding. I love the people that I’ve met through A.W.E. and learning more about the Milwaukee community.”

Fun facts about Michelle:

  1. Loves ceramics and working with fibers (particularly coiling and sewing/embroidering)
  2. Her favorite project to teach is Imogen’s antlers. In this project, young artists create “antlers”/hats. She likes this project because it encourages the kids to be flexible and push past obstacles. Plus it’s fun!
  3. Longtime fan of Dave Matthews band. Also loves Andrew Bird.
  4. A true Wisconsin girl, her favorite food is cheese.
  5. Plays video games (especially loves playing ones that amateur video game designers have made)


TerryTerry Spears

Bio: Terry was born and raised a couple of blocks away from the A.W.E. offices. He went through MPS, then graduated from MATC in 2010, majoring in animation. Terry has been with A.W.E. for a year now, interning with Truck Studio last summer and Library Truck Studio last fall. When asked, “What is your favorite aspect of Truck Studio?,” Terry said, “I really like the kids reactions to the art projects the good and bad. It is always interesting to see them do something they never tried before and then in the end either love it or hate it. Also getting them to think creatively to problem solve, something I believe to be very important not just in art but in life.”


Fun facts about Terry:

  1. Favorite artist is John Lasseter, “because Pixar”
  2. Loved cartoons, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, and drawing as a child
  3. Still loves cartoons, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles and drawing. His favorite day at Truck Studio is “Superhero Day,” where they draw their own cartoons and create their own superheroes.
  4. Likes pho (yum!), and any other foods that are “good healing food”
  5. Enjoys watching the Korean game show, “Running Man”


Lauran Lauran Bowe

Bio: Lauran was also born and raised very close to A.W.E.’s offices. She went through MPS, graduated from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts and then went on to study Behavioral Sciences at Mount Mary University. Lauran has been volunteering at A.W.E. since 2007 and has been working with Truck Studio for the past three years as an intern and lead artist. Lauran loves working with kids and encouraging them to use their imaginations and “embrace their weird.”


Fun facts about Lauran (mostly in quote form):

  1. Lauran moonlights as a Hip Hop talk show radio host on Riverwest Radio 104.1 FMLP.
  2. “Oh man, I was a weird kid.” Lauran loved reading about mythology and the paranormal (specifically aliens and ghosts).
  3. Favorite band- “Hands down, Atmosphere.” (seen them six times in concert). “Also Drake, because Drake is for the ladies.”
  4. Favorite food- “Probably tacos”
  5. Describes Truck Studio as “amazing, powerful, and important.”

Coming Soon: 5×3 Hayes Bilingual Mural

The Hayes Bilingual Boys & Girls Club and artists, Anja Sieger and Terry Spears joined together to create a mural on the 1000 Cesar Chavez Dr. Their goal is to put up a mural in their Clarke Square neighborhood “that makes people smile and feel good when they see it.” They hope the mural will enhance the overall quality of life in the neighborhood as well as the slow the traffic speed along the street. Their design concept is to make colorful “tessellations,” a geometric pattern that repeats itself infinitely without overlaps or gaps.

The public is encouraged to help in the painting process on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 18-26, 9am – 12pm. The Hayes Bilingual Mural will be unveiled on Thursday, July 28 from 9-10am. All are invited to celebrate!

Thank you to the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative for your support in this project.

This project is funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Racial Equity and Inclusion Grant and MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities.

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Through A.W.E.’s 5×3 AIR (Artist in Residence) program, youth gain an understanding of the public art process, talk to key decision makers in their neighborhoods and present their ideas to the wider community. The artists and youth learn from each other and work together, sharing input that shapes the final product. Upon completion the work is celebrated with the community.