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"Make Milwaukee": A Small, Well-Connected City With Creative People Doing Big Things

Listen: With this post, we begin our joint exploration of Milwaukee's creative community with the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee and Creativity Works! Briefly, they're a group thinking about, studying, and looking for ways to build the relationship between our region's creative industries and its economy.  However, exactly who they are and what they do is best explored on their website and by delving into their recently released report.

To bring some of their ideas to radio, we took on the task of translating their recent findings and research into handshakes, interviews, and audio pieces. So, over the next seven days, we're rolling out stories illustrating particular ideas and conclusions from their study. Milwaukee has a thriving design community? Show me an example. Creatives attract creatives? Introduce me to somebody.

And let me tell you in advance, they were up for the challenge -- but you don't have to take my word for it...

In these first two pieces, we sample one of their major concepts -- we have a tight-knit network of really talented people. Having spent a healthy chunk of time exploring Milwaukee, this conclusion strikes me as being completely on point.

So how did we go about representing people-connections in audio? The way they're most often lived out in real life -- through a chain of phone calls. Join us we hopscotch our way through Milwaukee's creative community, starting at MIAD, moving to GE Healthcare, stopping at Bucketworks, driving out to the Kohler Art Museum, then finishing with Alverno Presents and the Hinterlands.

In this second chain, we don't slow down, going from the Portrait Society Gallery to an iPad children's book named Astro Jammies, to the Simpsons and Disney with animator Tim Decker, to MATC, to Woody the Wooden Spoon.

Originally, I thought we could somehow smash all of these connections into one 3 minute audio piece. As my appetite usually goes, my eyes were bigger than my stomach... which is to say that you can go from the last step of the first chain (David Ravel) to the first step of the second chain (Deb Brehmer) with this piece of audio:

Whew! That's a heap of connection and talent -- and keep on checking back this week for more with Creativity Works!