Imagine. Believe. Create. Become.


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by David Lee on Aug 28, 2019

A few years ago, my wife and I were walking downtown after having gone out to dinner and she asked me how I imagined our lives in the future. She wanted details - like where we would be living, what our jobs would be, so on and so forth.

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A Blessing


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by David Lee on Aug 27, 2019

So far on this blog I've written about some of the unbridled joy, abundance, and excellence that I have seen and experienced in meeting the incredible people working in the arts and culture sector of our city. I never got a chance to meet Quanita “Tay” Jackson but from everything that I have heard about her - her boundless energy, spectacular voice, irrepressible spirit, and steadfast commitment to community - made her someone that I would have liked to have met.

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Don't Sleep on Milwaukee's Hip Hop Week


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by David Lee on Aug 20, 2019

A few weeks ago, Antoine and I met with Alderman Rainey about injecting his district with rich, vibrant, arts projects. During the meeting the Alderman showed us some of the materials that he had prepared for Hip-Hop Week MKE.  For those of you who have been listening to Radio Milwaukee’s excellent BackSpin podcast, the fact that Milwaukee is the only American city with a week devoted to hip hop culture should be incredibly satisfying.

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Design Fugitives


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by David Lee on Aug 16, 2019

To Annie’s growing vexation, I will often say yes to meeting requests when neither or us are exactly sure why or what I’m getting myself into. As the prudent one - and also as the one who has to work around the stuff I sneak onto my calendar - Annie’s view is to vet each opportunity. My view is to say yes and figure it out later.  So, when she was working to schedule this week, she asked, “What’s up with the visit to Design Fugitives? I didn’t schedule that.” I said, “I don’t know but I am psyched to find out.”

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On a Boat


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by David Lee on Aug 15, 2019

I’ve gotten to the point in my career where young people ask me how I got to my job and what I do all day. I tell them that I mostly write emails and attend meetings. Given the milieu of the arts, it’s pretty cool, but I’m still just writing emails and going to meetings, which is basically the same as any administrator or corporate leader.

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The Bus Mural


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by David Lee on Aug 14, 2019

We have a bit of a joke around the office that summer is mural season. On this blog, I've written about graffiti murals, giant murals, an alley of murals, and now, a bus mural. Yes, that bus mural. I guess it was too much to ask for 100 days to pass without a controversy.

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An Inspired Weekend


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by David Lee on Aug 12, 2019

I might be a bit of a broken record about the incredible abundance of art in our city, but if it's true it's true.

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TJ Auto Repair, Graffiti Alley and Critic At-Large


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by David Lee on Aug 7, 2019

Earlier today, we took our funders at the Northwestern Mutual Foundation on a tour of some of the work that we've been doing in the Greater Amani neighborhood.

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Keep on Singing


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by David Lee on Jul 31, 2019

Last night, I was at my neighborhood Walgreens dealing with one of the mundanities of everyday life: buying shampoo, conditioner, and sunscreen, and despite what these consumer brands may tell you, this was not incredibly inspiring.

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West of Lake Michigan, a Culture Center, a Woodland Pattern


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by David Lee on Jul 25, 2019

Did you know that Milwaukee is home to a nationally - and internationally - recognized book center with the state’s largest collection of small press poetry and selections by Native American writers, and that its over 300 annual programs in the arts, from readings and literary education programs, to films, concerts, and murals, draws over 17,000 people every year from Milwaukee, the state, and throughout the nation, thus making it a neighborhood anchor in the business corridor connecting Harambee and Riverwest?

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A Hot Weekend of Joyful Abundance


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by David Lee on Jul 22, 2019

This weekend, we joined Amani United, the Dominican Center, and other community partners to co-host the annual Summer Sprays mural event, which brings together a group of graffiti artists to create inspired, gritty, and beautiful murals.

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The Hunger Wall Mural


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by David Lee on Jun 10, 2019

This is my first official day as the CEO of Imagine MKE. Making the choice to leave my previous job as the founding Executive Director at Feeding Wisconsin, where I spent a good part of the last decade fighting hunger, was not an easy one.

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The Declaration of Independence and a Piano Concerto


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by David Lee on Jul 3, 2019

With Independence Day just around the corner, I found myself reflecting on my experience in the Aspen Institute's Academy 2.0 program for non-profit leaders in 2015. Funded by American Express, the program took a cohort of non-profit leaders through a weeklong seminar on leadership, values, and good society at Aspen Institute.

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The Value of an Arts Education


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by David Lee on Jul 10, 2019

I had the great opportunity to meet and have lunch today with Jeff Morin, the college president at The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), Wisconsin’s only 4-year private college of art and design.

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Biz Times Interview at Black Cat Alley


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by David Lee on Jul 17, 2019

It's been a whirlwind last week and I have a ton of posts to catch up on but Tuesday was a real treat.

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Must Go Faster...


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by David Lee on Jul 18, 2019

I deeply believe that at their core, artists are entrepreneurial problem solvers and that if we, as a city, are to be a leading economic driver to meet the challenges of the 21st century and help jumpstart our state's woefully poor ranking in start-up business activity, we need to be a place where artists and creative people want to live and work. I believe we need more people like Jared Judge, who I met today.

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