When your friend’s in grad school and asks to spend her first Saturday off in months with you, you are obviously excited. When she asks if you want to spend said Saturday going off to take pictures, you can’t believe your good fortune. Which is how I found myself waking up one Saturday morning to go shooting on the North Side with my friend Whitney. Both with a love for architecture, we thought we’d go explore the old factories and neighborhoods of this often overlooked Milwaukee area...
It was at this point that Whitney’s camera promptly decided to die on us (some sort of switchboard malfunction we later learned, RIP). We got back in the car and headed into the Sherman Park neighborhood where I was hoping my aimless driving would eventually lead us to one of my favorite Milwaukee murals. Which it did. Upon approaching the mural, you’ll notice it’s divided up into sections. On the far left side is the continent of Africa, and on the far right is a young boy setting an eagle free in front of the state of Wisconsin. In between these two are figures of women – “the cushion, creators, and comforters… connecting the cultures, values, and history of the two locations” - draped in color and African textiles. George Gist is the artist behind this bright and colorful piece and was asked by the Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum to paint a mural that projects and showcases their African-American community as a celebration of community and culture.
Luckily Whitney still had a couple disposable cameras in her bag too so all was not lost.
Our last stop before heading back home, was discovering this seemingly abandoned school house. Someone had painted some beautiful geometric designs on the boarded up doors and windows and we were instantly drawn to them. We were also weirdly into this Cold War-looking building out back and snapped a few shots. We’re brutalists at heart, what can I say.