Public art project connects Harambee, Riverwest neighborhoods


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Public art project connects Harambee, Riverwest neighborhoods

By Carole Meekins. CREATED May 1, 2014

MILWAUKEE - If they build it they will come, and hopefully learn. That is the notion behind a new public art project connecting the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods.

An old metal shipping container has been renovated into a community classroom. It's all part of an innovative project called ICAN2Labs. Keith Hayes is the architect behind the dream.

He notes: "If we provide a space, people can potentially come together and really start to conjure up something exciting."

The converted bin is the first phase of a public art project for a park called the "artery." It will connect the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods. Tyrone Dumas is a consultant. He explains. "We want to be a tie between those two communities and have this container be the summit place where people can come and have activities in the neighborhood." 

The materials are environmentally friendly, the ultimate green project. Everything has been recycled. Kids can even write on the walls thanks to a dry erase board. The mission? Use art to engage and elevate and turn decayed industrial corridors into places of pride. Hayes says working on this project has been rewarding. "To have something tangible from which out of this box can grow, to many of those more concrete examples is super exciting."
ArtPlace America and the Greater Milwaukee Committee helped provide financial support and the public gave input. Dumas shares, "We had architects, and grade school students shape what they thought the interior should be like." The recycled receptacle is proof that groups cane come together and make Milwaukee better by literally thinking outside the box. Dumas adds, "We really think this is a great thing for Milwaukee."
Many groups helped make this project possible, including Riverworks Development Corporation, the City of Milwaukee and CG Schmidt Construction. ICAN2 Labs was founded by "beintween", a group dedicated to improving public spaces. For more information check out
Carole Meekins

Carole Meekins

Carole Meekins is the longest tenured 10:00pm anchor in the Milwaukee market. She has been at TODAY'S TMJ4 since November of 1991.