Our artists are important civic leaders in Milwaukee. We rely on their voices to bring forward momentum and progress, reflection and commentary, resilience and fortitude. 

At this moment – on the cusp of a critically important election, in the middle of a financially and socially devastating pandemic and the renewed fight for racial justice – we need their voices more than ever. 

The events of the summer have brought to light once again that we are still very much on the path towards an equitable, just country but that we are nowhere near the end. We have many miles to go.

Our Road of Democracy project is a continuation of the conversation started by the work of MKE Downtown, Dasha Kelly Hamilton, and Della Wells. You can read more about the downtown installation here. Leading up to the election, Imagine MKE is commissioning the work of three artists, and presenting a series of virtual panels that engage with what it means to be a citizen artist, how art is a driver for racial justice, and more. 

Listen to previous Road of Democracy Conversations:


Road of Democracy Commissions

We are thrilled to announce the artists selected by our review panel to receive $1500 for their short-term projects that responds to the call of: What does democracy mean to you? How is our city contributing to the road of democracy this election season? 

This project is made possible with support from Arts Wisconsin and funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Arts Wisconsin’s “We’re All In” Creative Workforce Program is a workforce engagement and development program to put Wisconsin’s creative workers back to work during the pandemic. 

A preview of our three selected projects:

Nicole Acosta, "HOOPS" 
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Nicole is a first generation multi-disciplinary Mexican artist. Acosta's work reflects the exploration of her identity, experience, and storytelling. Says Acosta on the project, "The current state of our country is once again failing to amplify the voices, stories and contributions of women of color in our communities. As an artist, my work focuses on the reclamation and documentation and celebration of women identifying folks. My current HOOPS Portrait Project naturally asserts our bodies, cultures, and stories while simultaneously dismantling perception. Ultimately, the subjects in my photographs are saying 'my voice matters, I matter.'"

Joshua Yang, "Unite"
Joshua is a choreographer, teacher, and dancer. Yang is a versatile artist, utilizing foundations from hip-hop and blending other principles. Yang's project will be a dance performance, which deals with themes of the angst and abrasiveness of egocentrism, and how we are to unite as humans for the betterment of mankind - finding ways to make progress, together.

Anna Lardinois, "Forward: Women of Milwaukee on the Road of Democracy"
Anna is a writer and speaker who celebrates the best Milwaukee has to offer. She is the author of several Milwaukee-focused books, and is a former Pfister Narrator. Anna's project highlights the lives of Vel Phillips; Golda Meir; Mathilde Franziska Anneke; and the Oneida women Marjorie Stevens, Marge Funmaker, and Darlene Neconish. Explore their stories through this video, and reading and discussion over on Anna's website.