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The Milwaukee Arts Board approved the Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) pilot program to invest in the city’s cultural creators by leveraging the knowledge and practices of local artists to build a stronger Milwaukee.
Under the PAIR program, a local artist will be hired by a City of Milwaukee agency or department to develop, strategize, promote, and implement artist-driven solutions to complex civic challenges. The intended outcome is for the artist and City representatives to assess community needs, as well as develop and improve programs and initiatives through creative problem-solving.
For this pilot year, the soon-to-be-selected artist will be placed in the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works (DPW) to develop innovative approaches that will help address reckless driving and create safer, stronger neighborhoods throughout the city.
“This is an opportunity for new collaboration between Milwaukee’s artistic community and City government,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “We know that creative solutions, access to resources, and a renewed commitment to partnerships will help address the challenges we face as a community, including our continued fight against reckless driving. The PAIR program will be another tool for the City to utilize in creating safer neighborhoods and improving the quality-of-life for Milwaukee residents and families.”
“In order to solve challenges like the dangers of reckless driving, we need to deploy innovative solutions from a variety of perspectives, including Milwaukee’s arts community. That’s what the PAIR program is all about,” said Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, who was recently elected the new Chair of the Milwaukee Arts Board. “I have worked with many local artists and creatives over the years in the 6th District, and they have the creative mindset to help address complex issues in our city. I am looking forward to welcoming Milwaukee’s first artist-in-residence this year so we can get to work.”
The PAIR program residency will take place over a minimum of one year, beginning with a three-month research phase where the artist will shadow City staff and learn about operations and initiatives. After the research phase, the artist will spend three months prototyping and field testing their project, followed by a five-month implementation and evaluation period. This program will also facilitate cross-sector collaboration with Milwaukee’s various BIDs, NIDs, and partner organizations to carry out new artist-driven efforts.
The City of Milwaukee has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire the artist in residence, who will ideally begin work in the fall. The City also issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire a liaison who will manage the relationship between the selected artist in residence and City departments. The deadline to apply is August 22, 2022. Learn more at www.milwaukee.gov/DCD/Projects/RFPs.
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