88Nine Radio Milwaukee

John Ridley turns “no” into a positive for Milwaukee artists with NO STUDIOS

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
The Oscar-winning filmmaker is starting an arts hub downton

On Tuesday, filmmaker and Milwaukee native, John Ridley announced that he’s taking over an old Pabst building downtown to create NO STUDIOS, a space for creatives to make and present their art. (And, Milwaukee musicians, it has a recording studio.)

Though he won an Oscar for “12 Years a Slave” and created the Emmy-winning series “American Crime,” he hasn’t forgotten about where he came from and wants to give back.

“I was born and raised in Milwaukee and have family here. I’m proud to be from this city and I’m excited about giving back,” said Ridley. “With NO STUDIOS, we want to create a place where people can socialize with purpose and go about the hard work that’s at the core of creativity, as well as come together and celebrate art.”

Ridley came up with the name NO STUDIOS to have a double meaning. “No” is the Japanese root word for skill, talent, artistic endeavor, while the English word “no” is one that artists hear many times throughout their careers and yet continue to create, in spite of many obstacles. Now, he wants to put a positive spin on this word.

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A painting of Ridley’s vision for NO STUDIOS.

He says the vision is to make the space an art destination in Milwaukee, and in turn, make Milwaukee an arts destination for the country and the rest of the world.

Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance, 371 Productions, Custom Reality Services, UWM School of Film, and Marquette University are already on board to move in.

Look out for the opening of NO STUDIOS in September with a weekend of film screenings and discussions, dance and music performances, readings, as well as photographic and fine art exhibitions.

See the designs and floor plans below for the (huge!) first floor and rooftop.

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