April 12 2010
Every time we start a new campaign, I tell myself "bigger, better, more fun, more honest, more inclusive, more inviting..." We will always aim high and we'll never stop aiming higher. Our winter arts campaign, Make Milwaukee, was a madcap romp around Milwaukee's creative community. It was big, it was better, and it was a whole lot of fun. It brought me everywhere from the stage of the Marcus Performing Arts Center with the MSO concertmaster Frank Almond to kitchen painting studios. Now, as the weather gets nicer, we go from galleries and studios to lawns and living rooms (right now, I can hear birds chirping outside my window!). It's the 2010 Neighborhood Project. Last year, the Neighborhood Project opened our eyes to a whole new production paradigm at 88Nine. From beginning to end, the process was intensely collaborative, which allowed us to present stories that were at times fun, at times moving, and always intimate. Without being overly heavy-handed or high-minded, we took on difficult conversations about community, race, socioeconomics, and many other issues, all within the framework of first-person narratives. Very frankly, we didn't know we could do production of that quality. As a person that's grown up in Milwaukee, it was an unbelievable chance to learn about my own city through narrative. All these stories and personalities and communities are out there all the time -- I just had the wonderful fortune to put a spotlight on them. This year, we will use a similar collaborative approach to tracking down stories, but with a new overarching theme. Whereas last year we had an inwards focus (“take care of your block” and “work in your neighborhood”), this year the focus will turn outwards – our listeners will be encouraged to present their neighborhood as well as get out and explore new parts of the city. The tagline of the series, “Love where you live,” will be interpreted in two ways: (I) take pride in your own neighborhood’s rich culture and (II) discover what other Milwaukee neighborhoods have to offer. As the central part of our campaign, for each of our seven weeks, we will focus on a different Milwaukee neighborhood. The neighborhoods, in no particular order, are Lindsay Heights, Clark Square, Martin Drive, Havenswoods, Walker’s Point, Harambee, and East Tosa. The audio pieces covering each neighborhood will be tailored to the unique history, culture, and character of the community. And let me tell you -- I've had a conversations with every neighborhood already, and we're going to be on a wild ride for these 7 weeks. We want to make this easy for you. Sit back, relax, and listen to the sounds of Milwaukee's neighborhoods through your speakers. Open yourself up to hearing something new. Listen with fresh ears and if you like what you hear, go out and discover these places for yourself.