Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) offered free family portraits taken by professional photographers for local residents in early June, the second phase of “The Amplifier,” a public art event that started in mid-May.
LBWN renovated a vacant storefront at 3430 W. National Ave. as a place “to gather and to display public art in the neighborhood,” said Sarah Luther, organizer of this community effort.
The two-day event attracted about 60 participants. Some individuals got their photos snapped when they were waiting for the bus. Some came in as a group after church. “One family came straight from the grocery store and took photos with a watermelon,” said Luther. Photographer Robin Luther noted that people spread the word organically. “Employees from nearby businesses told each other. Neighbors told their friends,” she added.
Vernesha Hollis brought her husband, two daughters and son to participate. She said, “Anything like this: where people are supporting Milwaukee, endorsing the neighborhood, and getting into art, we support that.”
During the first part of “The Amplifier” UWM students conveyed a wide variety of perceptions of Milwaukee through photographs and audio testimonies presented at the storefront.
To engage local residents and business owners, Sarah Luther said that future activities could include “mapping days, painting classes, volleyball in the park, discussion lecture groups, art openings and even a hair styling show.”