UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 14 Milwaukee Ballet

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 14 of 16. Today, the Milwaukee Ballet is the center of Shelby’s fourteenth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. The photo from this piece was taken at one of this year’s performances of “The Nutcracker.” Shelby loved the colors from the photo, mainly the warm pink tones from the costumes and the cool blue color in the background. She said the challenge for this piece is the integrated nature of the two central dancers. They form one unit and therefore it will be difficult to distinguish who is who.

This is day fourteen of a sixteen-day project to be completed on March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio or online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

Day14, MILW ballet by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 13 Next Act Theatre

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 13 of 16. Today, Next Act Theatre is the center of Shelby’s thirteenth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. The photo Shelby used to paint today’s piece features a Next Act Theatre actor in a dynamic pose from a performance of “Seven Stories.” Shelby loved the off-center composition of this shot. She could tell the performance was a lot of fun because of this actor’s theatrical flare, and she wanted to capture this to represent the organization.

This is day thirteen of a sixteen-day project to be completed on March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio or online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

Day 13, NEXT ACT THEATER by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 12 Danceworks, Inc.

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 12 of 16. Today, clinic Danceworks, Inc. is the center of Shelby’s twelfth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Shelby said the photo for this painting was one of the easiest to choose because of the expressions on the two central dancers faces. She said she wanted to capture the pure joy they express while ballroom dancing.

This is day twelve of a sixteen-day project to be completed on March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio or online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

Day 12, DANCEWORKS by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 10 Skylight Music Theatre

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 10 of 16. Today, nurse the Skylight Music Theatre is the center of Shelby’s tenth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Shelby wanted to get a glimpse into the behind the scenes environment of this theatre company and decided on this picture taken by a Journal Sentinel photographer, capsule Angela Peterson. This photo was taken before a performance of “Music Man” and Shelby liked the excitement of everyone getting ready for the big show.

This is day ten of a sixteen-day project to be completed on March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio or online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

 

Day 10 Skylight by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 9 Milwaukee Children’s Choir

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 9 of 16. Today, the Milwaukee Children’s Choir is the center of Shelby’s ninth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Shelby loved this photo because of the grade school children’s sweet expressions as they sing in their red choir robes, and it was because of their expressions she decided to paint this photo.

This is day nine of a sixteen-day project to be completed on March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio or online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

Day 9 MCC by pfisterhotel

UPAF ARTISTS AMONG US – MYSO

Shelby’s first UPAF Artist Among Us piece is inspired by the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. The subject is a young African American boy, holding his violin in anticipation of his performance. She found inspiration in the beauty of the lighting of the photo.

Shelby intends to complete each painting in one day through March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio at The Pfister and online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

MYSO painting #1 at Pfister Hotel by pfisterhotel

Shelby Keefe’s UPAF Artist Amoung Us Project

Our current Artist In Residence, Shelby Keefe, is about to embark on another special project staring March 1st.

Shelby will create a special 12” x 12″ painting for UPAF and each of its member groups.

These 16 paintings will happen over the course of the 16 days. This collaboration represents a unique opportunity for the performing arts to shine in a visual arts platform and to highlight the diversity our arts groups have to offer our region.

The complete schedule of paintings are as follows:

March 1: Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

March 2: Bel Canto Chorus

March 3: Milwaukee Repertory Theater
March 4: First Stage

March 5:  Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

March 6: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

March 7: Milwaukee Public Theatre

March 8: Renaissance Theaterworks

March 9: Milwaukee Children’s Choir 

March 10: Skylight Music Theatre

March 11: Present Music

March 12: Danceworks, Inc.
March 13: Next Act Theatre

March 14: Milwaukee Ballet
March 15: Florentine Opera

March 16: United Performing Arts Fund

As always, you’re invited to watch Shelby work in her studio at The Pfister throughout the process.

All of the paintings will be on view at UPAF’s campaign kick-off on Wednesday, April 4, at the Harley-Davidson Museum and the 16 paintings will be auctioned in June at a UPAF fundraising event.

Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress. For more information about the project please visit our website.

UPAF talk by ShelbyK

 

Shelby Keefe reflects on her time as the Pfister Hotel’s resident artist

Shelby Keefe has been the Pfister’s resident artist since April 2011. As all great things eventually come to an end, her studio torch will be passed to Timothy Westbrook in April 2012. Shelby and I had been trying to get together and talk for a few weeks and it turned out to be a good thing we couldn’t meet until this past Monday. When I walked in to her studio Shelby was standing in front of a painting. She had her hands on her hips and kept shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Then she’d cross her arms, and “hmm,” before returning the hands to her hips.  Her head tilted slowly from side to side, and alternated between looking above and through her glasses. The painting she contemplated was the largest I’ve seen on her easel.

It turned out she was at work on her legacy piece, the one which will join the Pfister Hotel’s vast permanent collection. The painting was complete, but was the painting FINISHED? Was it ready to be signed? The artist was still deliberating. I don’t want to ruin her unveiling by telling you what the piece looks like, but I will tell you the unveiling party is scheduled March 27th (more details to come). Until then you’ll have to stop by and try to figure out which canvas in her studio will rest for all time next to works by Reginald Baylor and Katie Musolff.

While Shelby contemplated the piece we talked about her time as the Pfister’s resident artist, and by the miracle of modern technology you can listen in to our conversation. Simply click the Play button below. She discusses her process of creating a painting, how she knows when a work is finished, and her experience while working as an artist on display.

If you’d rather download the piece and listen on your mp3 player, smartphone, etc. simply click the DOWN pointing arrow on the right side of the player and the Download option will appear.

Shelby Keefe reflects on her time as Pfister Hotel resident artist by Ed Makowski

The Pfister Hotel seeks next “Narrator in Residence”

The historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, which is owned and managed by Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, is in search of its next writer in residence, known as the Pfister Narrator. The chosen candidate will spend time in the hotel’s lobby, speaking with visitors and guests and sharing their stories through a blog on the hotel’s website.

“The Pfister Narrator program has served as a great way to honor our guests and their experiences at the hotel and beyond,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “The exposure and success of the program is continually growing.”

The person chosen next for the position will be the hotel’s fourth narrator, and will replace current narrator, Ed Makowski. He has been blogging from the hotel since November 2011; his stories can be found at blog.thepfisterhotel.com.

“During my time at the Pfister, this unique narrator position has given me a space to expand and develop my writing and story gathering skills,” says Makowski. “All at once the hotel has been a comfortable living room and big artistic playground. I’ve been a traveler among travelers. It will be exciting to meet the next writer to take on this fantastic position.”

The new Pfister Narrator will work a minimum of 10 hours per week over the course of a six-month period and will publish a minimum of two blog posts per week. In return he or she will receive his or her choice of a $1,000 monthly stipend, scholarship for continuing education or donation to a charity of his or her choice in his or her honor, in addition to complimentary parking and meals within the hotel’s cafeteria. The Narrator’s blog posts will later be published in a narrator book series. The first narrator Julie Ferris’ book is currently available in the hotel’s gift shop.

To be considered, applicants will need to submit an application form, current resume, 2-3 writing samples of recent work, a cover letter and two professional letters of recommendation to pfisternarratorapps@thepfisterhotel.com. Six finalists will be asked to write two sample blog entries and participate in a video interview. Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2012. The Pfister Narrator will take his or her post the week of May 1, 2012, and will remain the hotel’s storyteller through October 2012. A review panel will evaluate the applications and ultimately choose the Pfister Narrator. More information and the application form can be found at ThePfisterHotel.com/Pfister-Narrator.

Since 2009, the hotel has been a member of the Alliance of Artist Communities, www.artistcommunities.org, an international association of artists’ communities and residencies featuring a diverse field of more than 1,000 programs worldwide.

 

 

Reflections of Remarkable Milwaukee

Last Monday January 28th an event was held at the historic Pabst Theater,which is just a stroll down the avenue from the Pfister and Intercontinental. The evening was titled Remarkable Milwaukee and gathered many of Milwaukee’s innovative business leaders, successful creative types, and championing envisionistas. The group relaxed on stage while seated on Victorian couches to discuss their visions for our city’s future over coffee and cocktails. The occasion was also a fundraiser for Historic Milwaukee, a non-profit whose goal is to both increase awareness of Milwaukee’s architecture and preserve our built environment.

In front of a packed house the participants discussed issues and positives within our city. Many issues which are not unique to Milwaukee. Ways to maintain our unique existing architecture while making it fit inside the box of modern use. How to attract and retain both businesses and skilled labor to the city. How do we make productive space out of industrial buildings which may no longer house the industry they were built by (This always makes me think of our enormous Cold Storagewarehouses sprinkled along the riverbanks). The urban education elephant in the room. How to rebuild any city’s areas of urban blight. The discussion was a unique gathering point for intellectuals who wanted to do more than demonize cities with a fast attack of scary soundbites. I gathered that they viewed cities were a gathering point of culture, art, work, and living and there was no need to work in an environment miles away from where one lives. That this city is a great trove of activity and history, which is and will be as fantastic as we decide to make it. Our quilt, per se. Within the hour of conversation nobody arrived at rushed conclusions, and I don’t think it was the goal.

The Pabst Theater was an entertainingly appropriate location to discuss Milwaukee’s health and future. Before existing as The Pabst the venue had been called The New German City Theater, and had been built by Frederick Pabst. However this structure burnt down in 1895. When word reached Captain Pabst he wrote back from a European vacation, “Rebuild at once!” and within a year the Pabst Theater stood.

It seemed serendipitous that exactly one week later I met a couple named The Williams’ from Philadelphia. We were sitting in the Pfister lobby lounge and a conversation struck up about beer. Talk regarding microbrews between a bartender and two fans of what made Milwaukee famous pours easy and quickly spills over into other topics.

They were well-versed in restaurants around the Downtown area, microbreweries, the East Side, Bay Vew. This lovely retired couple was already familiar with nearly all over my favorite corner establishments. I finally asked how they’d become so acquainted. “Oh we own a condo over near Brady Street. We come here several times throughout the year for a week or two at a time. Milwaukee’s our retirement city.”

I asked what drew them to Milwaukee as a retirement town. They don’t have any family ties and neither of them had spent much time working in Wisconsin. It was more simple than I might have guessed. They’re big baseball fans so they come in to watch games and like to ride their bikes to the stadium. From Brady Street they can take the Lakefront trail through Lakeshore State Park (the park between Discovery World and Summerfest grounds) and bounce around to connect with the Hank Aaron Trail just across from the Harley Davidson Museum, which heads straight by Miller Park.

Ms. Williams explained that they’d shopped around in Florida and Arizona but they found that although those states offered Baseball’s Spring Training the climate was too harsh for any daytime activity other than sitting and watching baseball. Plus, when they do have to get in the car Milwaukee is an easy and quick place to navigate.

In addition we have restaurants and night spots offering a level of quality to which they’ve grown accustomed on the East Coast. Galleries, museums, other sporting events, music festivals. Culture, I suppose, if you want to boil it down to one word.

After shaking hands and saying good night talking with the Williams’ made me chuckle. It seemed they epitomized many of the points this discussion panel had been trying to touch on the week previous.

In the early 1960’s the Pfister Hotel reached a crossroads. After years of neglect and mismanagement the landmark was scheduled for demolition. To the chuckling whispers of many Ben Marcus purchased the Pfister. He saw the value in this building and decided to not only save the structure, but invested in the future of the location. To him the Pfister Hotel was more than a stack of bricks and a number on paper. It represented a potential. Now here I am sitting in the lobby lounge. Talking with a couple of transplants who enjoy remarkable Milwaukee as their retirement playground.

All these years later it appears that if you build it they will come.