West Allis Living Streets
“West Allis Living Streets” (WALS) made West Allis a lot more colorful in 2020. Four new artworks were installed at various sites around the commercial corridor of West Allis, sponsored by the City’s Artscape Committee.
Walls identified for the project included the west-facing wall of a commercial building at 7506 W. Greenfield Ave., the east-facing wall of the upcoming Reunion Restaurant at 6610 W. Greenfield Ave., the south-facing exterior wall of the West Allis Towne Centre, located on the northeast corner of W. Greenfield Ave. and S. 70 St., and the large façade of the Noble Senior Living Facility at 7400 W. Greenfield Ave. The Noble Senior Living Facility, with its five-story expanse of wall, was reserved for a special artist invitation to Thomas “Detour” Evans of Colorado.
The WALS project was led by Wallpapered City, the artist-led working group that implemented the “North Avenue Mural Arts District” (NoMAD) in Wauwatosa last summer, as well as Black Cat Alley, Bay View Street Canvas, and other public and commercial art projects in the Milwaukee area.
“We have wanted to do this in West Allis for years, and we could not be happier to begin this work in 2020,” said Mayor Dan Devine, a longtime supporter of strengthening arts and cultural opportunities in West Allis. ”This project has been fantastic for our City.”
INVITATION TO DETOUR
Thomas Evans, aka “Detour,” was invited to paint the five-story expanse of the Lamplight building at 7400 W. Greenfield Ave. as part of this project. Detour, from Denver, COL., is an all-around creative specializing in large scale public art, interactive visuals, portraiture, immersive spaces, and creative directing. His focus is to create work where art and innovation meet. A born collaborator and “military brat,” Detour pulls from every conceivable experience that shapes his landscapes and perspectives.
The mural was inspired by a photograph of one of Detour’s friends, John Chapman, and Chapman's son, Britton. Detour hopes people will relate to the piece through their own happy memories with loved ones.
SELECTING THE OTHER ARTISTS
An impartial jury comprised of West Allis residents, City staff, and local business owners, reviewed nearly 100 submissions to select artists for the remaining three walls.
Tax dollars are not being used to support these projects, which have been funded by First-Ring Industrial Redevelopment Enterprises (FIRE), a regional community development entity, run through the City of West Allis’ Economic Development Department.
Visit the WALS murals and other City of West Allis Artscape Committee projects, and share your experiences on social media, #WestAllisLivingStreets.