West Allis Living Streets

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“West Allis Living Streets” (WALS) is making West Allis a lot more colorful in 2020! There will be four new artworks installed in various sites around the commercial corridor of West Allis, sponsored by the City’s Artscape Committee.

Walls identified for the project include the west-facing wall of a commercial building across from City Hall, the east-facing wall of the upcoming Reunion restaurant, the south-facing exterior wall of the West Allis Towne Center, and the large façade of the Lamplight building. The Lamplight building, with its five-story expanse of wall, was reserved for a special artist invitation to Thomas Evans of Colorado.

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.

Dan Herro, West Allis resident and artist, will paint on the Gartzke building, 7506 W. Greenfield Ave. Herro currently serves as Head Designer and Preparator for the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. His works are inspired by nature and natural elements.

Milwaukee artist David Mueller will paint at 6900 W. Greenfield Ave., on the Towne Center shopping plaza’s south-facing wall. Mueller’s work has been exhibited locally and internationally in a variety of galleries, venues, and publications, and the artist self-describes as “a working-class kind of artist.”

Elmhurst, ILL.-based artist Jason Watts will paint a mural at 6610 W. Greenfield Ave. The location is currently in the midst of remodeling as Christopher and Abby Paul, who own the Italian restaurant Capri di Nuovo in West Allis, convert the building into an entertainment venue/restaurant with volleyball courts, outdoor seating, and arcade. Watts describes his artistic style as “as a mashup of the iconography, symbols and local references that are part of our past and present.”

The artists’ designs are being finalized and work is expected to begin at the mural sites in late August and early September. All murals are expected to be complete in early fall 2020.

The WALS project is being 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 is going to be fantastic for our City. And this is only the beginning.”

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.

WALS murals & artists

7400 W. GREENFIELD AVE.

Artist: Thomas Evans, aka Detour

Detour 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. Explaining Detour’s work is no easy task, as ongoing experimentations in visual art, music, and interactive technologies have his practice continually expanding. With his ever-evolving approach to art, Detour’s focus is on expanding customary views of creativity and challenging fine-art paradigms by mixing traditional mediums with new approaches—all the while opening up the creative process from that of a singular artist, to one that thrives on multi-layered collaboration and viewer participation. 

Detour’s West Allis mural is five stories tall on the Lamplight Inn building. The mural was inspired by a picture of one of his friends, John Chapman, and Chapman's son, Britton. 

Detour hopes people will relate to the piece through their own happy memories with loved ones.

"It’s really like you’re passing it down to the next generation, you have on your shoulder, you’re carrying it on," Detour said. "It’s (of) my friend, so it’s people that look like me and everything, so it’s sort of reflective of that representation, that’s really what I wanted to do."

Additional muralists will be announced in late-July.