emma daisy gertel

Art by Emma Daisy Gertel. 

This weekend, Black Cat Alley will kick off the installment of two new murals.

Beginning on April 20, visiting artist Adam Hernandez of Columbus, Ohio will begin work on a ten-foot piece titled “Godmask.” Hernandez  work on the piece during April Gallery Night and Day, April 20–21, and the public is welcome to visit and observe the work in progress.

Adam Hernandez

Adam Hernandez 

The Call for Artists released in February by the East Side BID restricted entries for the large mural to local, Milwaukee-area artists only. The committee of jurors based their selection on artistic merit, message and originality of voice.

In May, work will begin on a larger mural in the alley. The new mural will be installed on a north-facing segment of the back wall of the Oriental Theater, near the intersection of Kenilworth and Prospect Avenues. It will appear in the place of a previous mural by Adam Stoner entitled “Devontay,” which was defaced in 2017.

The artist chosen for the new mural is Emma Daisy Gertel, a maker, illustrator, and designer based in Milwaukee, WI.

“The jury received twenty entries for the north-facing mural from local artists,” says Program Director Stacey Williams-Ng. “Jurors were very impressed with Gertel’s proposal, because of its exuberance and power.”

Daisy’s design features a central female character who appears to be dancing. She exudes power through gesture, and direct eye contact with the viewer.

“(She) uses art to explore her Korean roots and narrate her experience growing up in a culturally homogenized white community,” Gertel explains in her artist statement. “Identity exploration and the celebration of feminine strength are characteristic of her work, rendered with playful charm to bring joy and connection to others.”

Kristin Godfrey, Executive Director of the East Side BID, stated in a press release that the murals are only the beginning of an exciting new season for Black Cat Alley.

“The more programming we can bring to Black Cat Alley, the better. It is a place that stimulates conversations and benefits the whole community,” Godfrey stated in a press release.

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