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Night Market brightens vacant downtown lot

Millions of people visit Milwaukee each year and most of them will find themselves in the downtown area.  There’s abundant shopping, restaurants and theaters, and of course, the immense Wisconsin Convention Center.

But those who are visiting the Wisconsin Center may not be getting the best view of Milwaukee.  Immediately across from the building lies a vacant lot that is – let’s face it – an eyesore.  Spanning nearly half of a city block at Fourth Street and Wisconsin Avenue, it sits in a prominent location but has been overlooked for almost three decades.    

But one Milwaukee organization is hoping to change the look of the intersection. 

Newaukee thought the lot would be the perfect place to host its monthly Night Market and bring vibrancy to an otherwise dead space. 

“It really is a collision of everything the city has to offer from food, art, music, dance,” said Newaukee President Angela Damiani.  “What we hope is that people come down and have a really fun, family-friendly, safe experience with downtown.”

One of the main attractions of the market is the intricate wooden Moiré Pavilion the event is held under.  The structure was designed by artist and architect Paul Bestul and will remain in the lot until the end of October. 

But Newaukee hopes to do more with the market than provide a good time for locals.  Damiani wants people who come to The Night Market to rethink their idea of downtown and to envision what the space could become. 

“It’s the heart of our city, it’s our major thoroughfare, there isn’t this sense of ownership that we believe should exist,” Damiani said.  “It could be our micro Millennium Park.  There’s a place right in the center of town that people could go and relax and picnic or have their own events.”

The free open-air market is open to all ages and will be taking place once a month through October.  The remaining dates are below:

 - August 13
 - September 17
 - October 15

More information on The Night Market is on Newaukee’s website.  To hear Nate Imig’s interview with Angela Damiani, click the player above. 

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee