Check out these behind-the-scenes stories  

“Art is special because it is like a fingerprint of each one of us, no one can make the same thing, so each piece of art is special because it is essentially you and me…” – Lelia, 7, Walker Square Park 


At the beginning of August, our summer Truck Studio program wrapped up six weeks of free art activities in 18 Milwaukee County Parks and Playgrounds! Now, we’re in full swing with our school-year Truck Studio programming with the Milwaukee Public Library system, and exciting projects are taking place at a Milwaukee Public Library branch near you!

A teaching artist reads to a group of young people at a library.

Inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama’s choices of artists to paint their official portraits for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, our Truck Studio artists thought it’d be a great opportunity to have young people learn more about professional artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, by creating their own self-portraits!

painted portrait of a young girl with a green and purple bow in her hair and a purple shirt.

A young artist visited a library truck studio program and made this self-portrait.

We’re excited to partner with the Milwaukee Public Library system to reach more youth and create more art The new Mitchell Street Library branch, Storytelling Arts Program, will be another way we’ll incorporate art into more spaces.







During the month of August, we had an exciting opportunity to join our youth partner, Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative for the summer concert series Music at Mitchell Park near the Mitchell Park Domes and Conservatory. We gathered for two weeks of the month-long series to take professional photos by Rosana Lazcano on the Drift Bench!

An african american woman and her dog sit on a bench in a park.

A resident and her dog pose on the Drift Bench for our free family photo night! Photo by: Rosana Lazcano

Originally constructed by UW-Milwaukee architecture students in 2011, the bench was designed to show movement. Since then, it’s had been moved around quite a bit. It’s been at UW-Milwaukee, Gen. Mitchell International Airport and now at Mitchell Park.

A family poses on the Drift Bench in early August.











“We don’t have playgrounds and parks like this back home. It’s nice to see kids of all backgrounds socializing, getting along and creating art,” Ssempijja said. 

two african american boys dance on a picnic table.

Robert (foreground) and Joel dance in the park. Photo courtesy of Troy Freund Photography.

One of our Lead Artists, Laura Kolar is also a dancer. She co-founded  Gujja Ting African Art (GTAA). An organization that works to empower the youth in Uganda. Through the GTAA, we met dancers Robert Ssempijja and Joel Talemwa from Uganda. Both teens spent time in Milwaukee volunteering, dancing and helping others creatively express themselves.

Public Art Impacts Public Safety 

“Two police officers, who showed up earlier in the week, came back to hang out with the kids. They got a few more kids to hang out with us and I think the kids really enjoyed working with them. They helped the kids through everything and even made their own [art],” Laura, Lead Truck Studio Artist 

A young child sits with two police officers on a bench

A young child sits between two Milwaukee Police officers on the Drift Bench.