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'Queering the Cream City' elevates LGBTQ+ art to 12 Milwaukee billboards

A Milwaukee public art campaign is elevating the work of LGBTQ+ artists, hoisting powerful images skyward in celebration of diversity, on a dozen billboards around the county.

It's called Queering the Cream City, and it's part of an effort to honor LGBTQ+ artists beyond one month of the year.

The exhibition was curated by artist Vaughan Larsen, who worked alongside artists T.J. Dedereaux-Norris and Laurence Philomene, and incorporates both local and national artists in the campaign. Larsen also runs an online art community and printed zine called That Way, and says they see the billboard campaign as the next step to bring Queer representation to Milwaukee.

"I think it's really magical to think about Queer art taking space up in the public, where it's not in a gallery and closed walls. There's no hours like it's open all the time," they said.

The billboards were purchased through a partnership with SaveArtSpace, a national nonprofit that works to transform advertisements into public art.

The Milwaukee outdoor campaign will be up thorough Aug. 15, and a coordinating exhibition at the Alice Wilds gallery will run though Aug. 23.

If you want to see the billboards in one swoop, Larsen says they're organizing a driving caravan tour Friday, Aug. 13, meeting at the Alice Wilds at 5 p.m. and departing 5:30 p.m.

Here are all the locations and artists:

  • Alejandro Jūnyáo Zhāng, 7504 W Appleton Ave.
  • Lois Bielefeld, 5338 N Hopkins St.
  • Anje Thomas, 1099 W Howard Ave.
  • Lidia Sharapova, 1860 S Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Jova Lynne, 3669 W Mill Rd.
  • Matt Gold, 564 W Oklahoma Ave.
  • Ashley Kaye, 3702 N Teutonia Ave.
  • Isla P Gordon, 1327 S 70th St.
  • Noah Tesmer, 535 S 92nd St.
  • AJ Morley, 1633 E Oklahoma Ave.
  • Skyler Pham, 1701 W State St.
  • Salgu Wissmath, 905 W Center St.

Listen to our audio interview with Larsen above; they explain how meaningful the large scale queer representation is for them as an artist and resident of Milwaukee.
Radio Milwaukee is a media sponsor of the exhibition.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee