This fall, the Farm Project will implement its second Artist in Residence program. Milwaukee artist Isabel Castro has been selected from a deep and talented pool of artists to work out of the public studio & gallery space on S. Chavez Drive from August to December 2018. The Farm Project is a broad partnership effort (of the Chavez Drive BID and the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative) to seed arts and culture on the commercial corridor. The primary goal of this initiative is to establish Cesar Chavez Drive as the home of Latino/a arts and culture in the hearts and minds of Milwaukeeans.
Castro creates work using paint and other media and plans to continue exploration of different media. During her residency, she will create five to seven new pieces of art, including public art that will be installed along the corridor. While developing her personal arts practice, Castro shared that she plans to “build connections with businesses and organizations, in and around the neighborhood for collaborations on events and art projects.” She plans to engage the community in art making workshops that also provide opportunity for personal reflection.
Castro exuded excitement at her new position. “I’m so very much excited for this opportunity,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen, what’s going to take place here. I hope to contribute to this neighborhood and this community. I’m very excited to see what awaits us in the future.”
Erick Ledesma, Chavez Drive’s 2017 Artist in Residence and member of the selection committee was also very positive about Castro’s future work on Chavez Drive. “Isabel Castro’s exploration of identity through visual arts, dedication to community involvement and passion to expand her craft make her a great fit for the residency. I am excited to see her flourish within the space and with the Clarke Square Neighborhood,” says Ledesma.
Castro is a 2017 graduate of Escuela Verde and a rising sophomore at UW-Milwaukee. During her residency, Castro’s artwork will touch on identity, culture, community, and growth. “As I focus on those topics, it will give me the opportunity to share my own stories as a young Latina, and connect my experiences with others,” she shared.
Castro shared that she has planned art-making activities every month that will inspire the creation of a larger public art piece, such as a mural. “Not just painting, different activities. We’re going to be working with different art mediums for sure, and that’s where people can have the opportunity to get their feet wet on certain things and what they would like. From there, we can start brainstorming what we’d want to do together as one big art piece. It’s baby steps to a big picture.”
The Chavez Drive Artist in Residence is part of the Farm Project, an effort to cultivate Cesar E. Chavez Drive as a destination for economic and cultural experience and commerce. In addition to the artist in residence program, the Farm Project has been instrumental in coordinating Ciclovia MKE, an annual open-streets event, an annual Cesar Chavez Day celebration, the installation of a Cesar Chavez memorial statue and plaza, and community art exhibitions. This residency is made possible through private grants and contributions from the Mary L. Nohl Fund, the Zilber Family Foundation, the Chavez Drive BID, Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, individuals and other sources.
To stay up to date with the progress of the Artist in Residence program and other Farm Project initiatives, “like” the Cesar E. Chavez Drive Business Improvement District (BID) and the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative on Facebook. The studio is located at 1000 S. Chavez Drive, on the southeast corner of W. Mineral Ave. and S. Chavez Dr..