On Friday, July 26th we will be at the gorgeous Villa Arts Decorative Arts Museum to listen to Katie Mullen and Jordan Pintar of BlackPaint Studios to talk on this month’s theme: END.

Read more about Katie, Jordan, and BlackPaint Studios here!

Below we had a quick chat with Katie and Jordan to find out more.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Diamonds.

What do people know you for?
Causing trouble.

How is Milwaukee special to you?
One of us was born here.

What inspires your creativity?
Memes, dabs, and Jesus. Two of these are true.

What will you share with us during your talk?
The title says it all? It’s called “F*CK THIS SH#T: Two women’s rebellion against how the creative industry taught them to see themselves and how you can join the revolt.”

On Friday, June 28th we will be at the amazing UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium to listen to Jean Creighton, Director of the planetarium, talk on this month’s theme: WONDER. Jean Creighton has had a great interest in how stars form her whole life and is an accomplished astrophysicist and astronomer.

Read more about Jean here!

Below we chatted with Jean and got to know her a little more.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Most mornings I enjoy rolled oats, almonds, golden raisins, coconut flakes, milk, half a banana, and tea.

What do people know you for?
Sharing my excitement and enthusiasm for the stories of the night sky and the elegance of the cosmos.

How is Milwaukee special to you?
I have enjoyed living in Milwaukee for 20 years.  It has a history of being a real city since the 1800s while still be friendly and accessible.

What inspires your creativity?
Creative ideas often come from things I read or hear or while I am talking with someone. Cool ideas also come to me while I am swimming or walking.

What will you share with us during your talk?
How wonder has inspired me in a variety of contexts from the personal to the communal to the cosmic.

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On Friday, May 24th we will be at the beautiful Milwaukee Public Library (Central) to listen to Christina Ward on this month’s theme: PRESERVE. Christina Ward is an award-winning writer and editor, Vice President of Feral House, and is the Master Food Preserver for Milwaukee County! 

Read more about Christina here.

Below we chatted with Christina and got to know her a little more.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? 
One pot of very strong Bustelo made in a Mr. Coffee with half/half, ½ pound of cantaloupe, a couple of ounces of Camembert cheese with pita crackers.

What do people know you for? 
Ah, it depends on where and when you met me! I think the majority of folks know me as the ‘Canning Lady’ from my various food preservation work. But I do a lot more.

How is Milwaukee special to you?  
Milwaukee’s history and potential make it special. I’m not a cheerleader, I believe in eyes-wide-open progress.

What inspires your creativity?
Death. I know Stoic philosophy is enjoying a moment of fame, but the modern crop of proselytizers get it wrong. Stoicism is much more than toughing it out or creating artificial hardships so one can gloat about the strength of their mettle. Like many things, the current crop of masculinizers has sullied the actual practice with their personal goals; which is of course, anti-Stoical. A true practice of Memento Mori frees one from the external and internal constraints on creativity- we’re all going to die so do your thing. The rest is more complicated…

What will you share with us during your talk? 
On the theme provided- Preserve - I will challenge people to define and recalibrate their notions of what preservation is and most importantly, what are we preserving against.

On Friday, April 26th we are excited for our TWO speakers, Juli Kaufmann and JoAnne Sabir, to talk on this month’s theme: INCLUSIVE. Both of these influential women had a heavy, helping hand in the Sherman Phoenix rising from the ashes and coming to life. And we are equally excited to have this event be hosted at the new, beautiful Sherman Phoenix

Juli Kaufmann is a social entrepreneur and currently President of Fix Development, an award-winning Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based commercial real estate company.

JoAnne Sabir, Co-founder of The Juice Kitchen, LLC and The Sherman Phoenix, LLC which are a juice bar and real estate development company respectively, has earned a reputation in Milwaukee for being one of the premier community development leaders with a particular gift for cultivating impactful relationships across communities and disciplines while addressing the challenge of revitalizing blighted neighborhoods.

Read more about Juli and JoAnne here!

Below we chatted with Juli and JoAnne and got to know them a little more.

JULI KAUFMANN

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Peanut Butter granola with blueberries

What do people know you for?
Walker’s Point development work.

How is Milwaukee special to you?
Home is where the heart is.

What inspires your creativity?
Solving problems.

What will you share with us during your talk?
The Story of the Sherman Phoenix

JOANNE SABIR

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Oatmeal and eggs over easy with sautéed kale.

What do people know you for?
My smile or The Juice Kitchen.

How is Milwaukee special to you?
I have raised my beautiful children here!

What inspires your creativity?
Finding solutions to community challenges with community.

On Friday, March 29th, we’re returning with “Water” with Karen Sands, the Director of Planning, Research, and Sustainability for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). This event will be hosted at Discovery World!

Karen Sands is the Director of Planning, Research and Sustainability for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) where she’s worked for over 15 years. As director, she integrates grey and green infrastructure planning to recycle wastewater, reduce energy use/switch to renewables, and manage river and stormwater flooding. Read more about her career here!

Below we chatted with Karen and got to know her a little more.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? 
Bagels with cream cheese and salmon, eggs and toast, cereal with fruit, smoothies…just not all in one sitting!

What do people know you for?
Being sporty (jogging, swimming, bicycling to work), vegetable gardening, and four leaf clovers finding me.

How is Milwaukee special to you? 
Milwaukee is where Pete and I raised our two daughters! When they were growing up, we spent a lot of time exploring beaches, parks, and soccer fields as well as museums, shopping, and shows. We all benefit in incredible ways from Lake Michigan. I’m a transplant from upstate New York, and the Fresh Coast of Milwaukee is home.

What inspires your creativity? 
My creativity tends to take the form of big ideas. They come to me when I’m riding my bicycle on trails that follow the veins of our rivers.

What will you share with us during your talk? 
I’ll share my early connections with water, how my career transformed from paving the earth to greening the earth, and how that work connects with big goals of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Photo credit: Lauren Wagner

On Friday, February 22nd, we’re returning with “Symmetry” with Whitney Anderson, talented local graphic designer and creative and owner of witand.co. This event will be hosted at the Milwaukee Art Museum!

Whitney Anderson is a freelance graphic designer and creative who specializes in branding, lettering, and illustrations. She works with both small local start ups and large global companies alike to create individualized designs for print and packaging. Select clients include: Taste of Home, Disney, Lululemon, MOO, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, United By Blue, Press Waffles, among others.

Below we chatted with Whitney and got to know her a little more.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? 
I’ve been on a big fried egg kick recently, but fresh fruit is usually my go-to. Accompanied by freshly brewed coffee, of course. 

What do people know you for? 
Vintage-inspired branding, lettering, and illustration.

How is Milwaukee special to you?
This wonderful city has been my home for the past 8 years and I absolutely love it. I’ve enjoyed exploring classic staples of the city as well as watching new restaurants and shops pop up throughout the city. Living so close to such a beautiful body of water and being able to take my dog to walk along the beach and play in the lake has been a truly unforgettable way to spend the warmer months, as well as attending countless musical events, festivals, and street fests that the city hosts all summer long. I’ve loved getting to know so many talented local creatives, small business owners, and other go-getters during my time in Milwaukee, and plan to stay here for the foreseeable future!

What inspires your creativity?
Oh man, more like what *doesn’t* inspire it? All jokes aside, I do feel that I find inspiration everywhere that I go. As I mentioned before, my style is heavily vintage inspired, so I find a lot of inspiration at antique stores, looking through old packaging and ephemera. I find a lot of color inspiration in nature and in my daily life. I’ve been told before, “You look like your work.” As in, my clothing style and colors line up well with my designs and colors that I use. I like to always be aware and receptive of my surroundings, as inspiration has stuck when I’ve least expected it in the past, while out and about. I’m the crazy person who is always snapping a pic of something or another to reference later on. 

What will you share with us during your talk?
I’m going to share about my journey from a full time job to full time freelance, and how I found balance and symmetry in my professional and personal life while learning how to adjust to those transitions.

Photo credit: Timothy O’Donnell

On Friday, January 25th, we’re returning with “Surreal” featuring Michael Pink, artistic director at the Milwaukee Ballet. This event will be hosted at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts!

Michael Pink is the longest serving artistic director in Milwaukee Ballet history. Since joining the Company in December of 2002, he has established himself as a prominent member of the Milwaukee arts community, demonstrating his commitment to the future of dance through new work, education and collaboration. (read more about his background here!)

Below we chatted with Michael and got to know him a little better.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
English or Irish tea with cold milk. 

What do people know you for?
I have developed a reputation for being unconventional. Even when I’m presenting classical ballets, I’m not interested in doing it the way others have done it. I go back to the heart of the story I’m telling and work to create an experience that’s as emotionally compelling as it is beautiful. What’s most important to me is to tell a story that connects with the audience.

How is Milwaukee special to you?
Milwaukee has become home to my children, both have grown up here. Milwaukee is unique in that it’s big enough to offer you the resources to execute your vision, but it’s small enough for you to truly make an impact if you’re willing to work hard.

What inspires your creativity?
My imagination and people I create with.

What will you share with us during your talk?
The power of suggestion and surrealism in performing arts. 

On Friday June 29th, we’re returning with “Craft” featuring Elizabeth Rees of Chasing Paper at Third Branch Creative Studio!

Elizabeth Rees is the founder of Chasing Paper, a stylish removable wallpaper company that has developed a line of innovative, design-conscious removable applications and collaborated with numerous designers, artists and brands, including ban.do, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Betsey Johnson, Lisa Congdon, Molly Hatch, Rebecca Atwood, Soludos, Ashley Goldberg, Nickelodeon and many more. 
Below we caught up with Elizabeth to get to know her better.

What do you typically eat for breakfast?

I don’t typically eat breakfast (I know I know); just coffee or a cappuccino for me in the mornings!

What do people know you for?


Wallpaper! People have said “Oh my god your the wallpaper girl” too many times to count.

How is Milwaukee special to you?

Having grown up here and now coming full circle to buy my first house here with my husband, Milwaukee is about family. People are so warm and friendly here which is something that always struck me when I would come back from NYC.

What may people not know about you?

I have traveled to 37 countries and try to get to a new one every year. Travel is my greatest passion.

What drives your creativity?

Travel, books, art, people in a general way. In my day to day with Chasing Paper, it’s our customer. We get to interact with her through so many life moments. Going away to college, first apartments, first homes, first baby, second baby! and many moments in between. I want to create great products that help set the stage for happy homes.

What will you share with us about “Craft” in your talk?

Craft is such an interesting word and term. I hope to explore its different meanings and ways that it has shaped my life and career.

photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 2017

ON FRIDAY, MARCH 30TH, WE’RE RETURNING WITH “COURAGE” FT. FAYTHE LEVINE AT THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM!

Faythe Levine is an artist, director, author, and the assistant curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan WI. Her practice and curatorial vision is centered around ongoing themes of community, creativity, awareness, process, empowerment and documentation. Amongst her many projects, they include Sign Painters (2013) andHandmade Nation (2009), both feature length documentaries with accompanying books and extensive tours throughout the States. Below we caught up with Faythe to get to know her better.

What do people know you for?

I’ve worn a lot of different hats so it sort of depends where I am and what the context is. In Wisconsin folks know usually know me from starting the handmade event Art vs. Craft (2004-2014), running my various past gallery spaces (Paper Boat and Sky High) and sometimes from serving them drinks when I was a bartender in one of my past lives. In a more broad scope people know me as the filmmaker who did a documentary called Sign Painters and another one called Handmade Nation.

How is Milwaukee special to you?

Milwaukee gave me space as an artist to learn who I am and supported me through various growing pains on that journey.

What may people not know about you?

I’m a left handed only child who’s first memories are all from traveling around the country in the the Maroon Balloon, the name of our family’s van, that I lived with my folks the year prior to me starting school.

What drives your creativity?

My general curiosity in finding things and impulsive behavior to share those things with other people.

What are you going to talk to us about in your talk on “Courage”?

While I am still working on the direction I am going to take speaking to  the theme of “Courage,” I can see myself discussing personal elements and lessons of my last few years. For example, I learned lessons on slowing down to take care of myself and trusting my gut. This path led me to living in rural Tennessee for a stint, then feeling aimless wandering around looking for direction, and then fairly recently finding my way back to Wisconsin for my current position at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. I’m thinking this will push me to talk about how important I believe community is, what being a permission giver can look like and how having courage means trusting yourself and those you choose to have around you.

Ticket registration opens Monday, March 26th at 11 AM CST. Grab a ticket while space remains tickets are free but limited!

photo by Joe Kirschling

ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD, WE’RE RETURNING WITH “CURIOSITY” FT. TODD UMHOEFER!

Todd Umhoefer is a multi-media artist, songwriter, and composer. The musician behind the experimental folk project Old Earth, Todd is an ardent traveler with tours throughout the US and Europe. He has produced and performed dozens of solo albums and EP’s (alongside two film scores) to critical acclaim and collaborated with numerous regional musicians. Below we caught up with Todd to get to know him better.

What do you typically eat for breakfast?

I’m normally asleep during breakfast time and don’t have much of a regular eating schedule. A bowl of cereal is pretty great any time though!

What do people know you for?

Probably foremost as being a musician and the person behind Old Earth, but hopefully more so for trying to be positive and helpful to others.

How is Milwaukee special to you?

It’ll always be where I’m from and where the majority my loved ones live. It’s special because it’s familiar, yet it’s growing in ways that feel new and I’d like to see where it all goes.

There’s a lot of potential here to develop a presence as a creative, but it’s important to ignore the gatekeepers and simply make things because you think they should exist. It’s a small enough place that you will eventually find allies.

What may people not know about you?

That sometimes I’m not very positive or helpful — but we can all learn from each other. Also I lived in Sonoma, California for some time.

What drives your creativity?

Compulsion and a sense of legacy. 

What are you going to talk to us about in your talk on “Curiosity”?

What curiosity is and isn’t and how it’s influenced me and my creative process. I also will share some of the rewards and challenges of a lifestyle composing experimental music. I’m excited to hear what other people are curious about and how many of their ideas they test too.

Ticket registration opens Monday, February 19th at 11 AM CST. Grab a ticket while space remains  tickets are free but limited!

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