HomeWorks: Bronzeville purchases City-owned foreclosure, reviving the decade-long vacancy as part of an artist housing cluster
Milwaukee, WI, March 17, 2022 — “Community” development is at an all time high in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District. While this development spike has several stakeholders, critics, and polarizing advocates, its existence grants opportunity for communal investment that has not been seen since the disruption and displacement of the 1960’s. One group of creatives has taken on the idea of community development as a personal call to action, understanding the plight of gentrification with longing for urban life that respects new and existing neighbors. They call it HomeWorks: Bronzeville.
As of March 15th, 2022 the long anticipated acquisition of the final property in their piloted three building cluster has been achieved. The site was previously a City of Milwaukee foreclosure that has been vacant for over a decade. HomeWorks: Bronzeville can now begin its renovation of the south-facing duplex and quad demolition at 322-340 West Meinecke. The duplex will be rehabilitated into a two-story single, Artist Live-Work Space for Local and Visiting Artists (3-bedroom upper with lower level art studio) with initial tenant Alexia S. Brunson and CopyWrite Magazine. The quad will temporarily become Greenspace for year-round art installations and programs by Jazale’s Art Studio, MKE<->LAX, Food4All, I Am Milwaukee, and CopyWrite Magazine.
“While others build a place and then find the people, we find the people and then build the place,” said Vedale Hill of Jazale’s Art Studio in discussing the need for this type of creative development.
HomeWorks: Bronzeville is a development initiative based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that emphasizes community development in its physical, economic, and social form by way of authentic arts and culture applications. At the foundation of this initiative are co-owners Vedale Hill, Sara Daleiden, and Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, who are all active members of the arts community. Their collective experiences in navigating real estate for their professional, communal, and personal creative practices have helped them form an effective ideology on creative placemaking and developing community holistically.
HomeWorks: Bronzeville centralizes their development efforts on specific qualities that are meant to challenge traditional practices and emphasize niche community needs including:
- Client Specific – artist and community cultivators who are also entrepreneurs
- Creating Ownership – providing opportunities to add + retain economic, cultural, and influential value
- Stability – building directional infrastructure for communal longevity
- Reimagining Gentrification – by changing the “how” not the “who”
- Narrative Shifting – focusing on ownership as a tool for stability and growth
- Transferable value – facilitating experiences that elevate authentic community practices + interest via a creative economy
- Retaining creative talent pool – through genuine opportunity and consistency for artists
“It’s crucial that our shared values and aspirations frame and guide this initiative. If goals and practices aren’t part of the process, they won’t be part of the product. It’s as simple as that.” – Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, I Am Milwaukee
Their collective ideology through real world experience of displacement, eventually led them to find a location in the heart of Bronzeville with a three building cluster that they will turn into the anchor home they all envision [located at the corner of W. Meinecke Ave & N. Vel R. Phillips Ave]. This will be a place that will hold all the programmatic elements of their respective organizations and businesses, residential property for artist housing, rental studios, and community space. As of 2018, HomeWorks: Bronzeville has completed its first fully developed property in the cluster co-developed with Strong Blocks; a fully gutted duplex turned two-story artist live-work space designed for Vedale Hill and family, featuring a public gallery space on the lower level.
“We seek to cultivate Bronzeville by concentrating on properties that surround America’s Black Holocaust Museum in the Harambee neighborhood portion of the district. We honor the re-emergence of the museum as a beacon for change and an archive of pertinent history for this community” – Sara Daleiden, MKE<->LAX
Homeworks: Bronzeville notes that without active collaboration reviving the site’s decade-long vacancy under this type of incentive would not have been possible. Collaborators include the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Preservation Fund, Thurman Grant Architect, CopyWrite Magazine, Toki & Associates, Darren Hill, Jeff Lamar Brown, Gray Development Group, Food4All, Strong Blocks and other cultural leaders from the district and the city. The project has also been guided by City leadership including Alderwoman Milele Coggs, the Bronzeville Advisory Committee, the Department of City Development and the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation in connection with the City’s Bronzeville Redevelopment Plan, the Bronzeville Artist Housing Report and the Art and Resource Community Hub (ARCH) Loan Program.
Through support from the City’s ARCH Loan Program, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Wisconsin Preservation Fund, HomeWorks: Bronzeville is actualizing on this artist housing cluster, in alignment with the neighboring America’s Black Holocaust Museum.
As renovation will soon be on its way, the Press is invited to attend HomeWorks: Bronzeville “Press Launch”, March 26, 2022 at 10:30am at the north east corner of N. Vel R. Phillips Avenue & W. Meinecke Avenue.
Always learning from the world around them, challenging the systems before them, and advocating for authentic progression in creative placemaking, HomeWorks: Bronzeville believes “Community thrives on cultures.”
HomeWorks: Bronzeville is currently looking for investors for their future development projects. You can support them through their non-profit financing partner Wisconsin Preservation Fund.
To discuss investing options, collaboration, and more, please contact:
HomeWorks: Bronzeville, LLC Co-Owners
Vedale Hill, Jazale’s Art Studio
Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, I Am Milwaukee
Sara Daleiden, MKE<->LAX
HomeWorks: Bronzeville is a development initiative based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Titled by its namesake, the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District, this initiative emphasizes community development in its physical, economic, and social form by way of authentic arts and culture applications. Learn more at: https://homeworksbronzeville.com/CHARTER