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 – Day 8 Renaissance Theaterworks

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 8 of 16. Today, sovaldi Renaissance Theaterworks is the center of Shelby’s eighth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Shelby was inspired by this woman run theater group that concentrates on performing plays written by women. She was invited backstage and took the photo that inspired this piece herself. The actress, medicine Marty, was performing in a one-woman show called “Neat,” which Shelby attended and loved. Instead of using the beige walls of the dressingroom as a background, Shelby also photographed the backdrop used for the play and photoshopped it into the photo so there was more color.

This is day eight 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.

sovaldi 0,40,0″> Day 8, RTW by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 7 Milwaukee Public Theatre

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 7 of 16. Today, Milwaukee Public Theatre is the center of Shelby’s seventh UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Shelby was inspired by the way Milwaukee Public Theatre often invites public participation in their work. The picture she used to create her 7th piece depicts children and adults on a float for the All City People’s Parade. She was intrigued and also challenged by the unique octopus wrapped around the human subjects.

This is day seven 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 7, MPT by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 6 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 6 of 16. Today, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is the center of Shelby’s sixth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Shelby was inspired by this photograph of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s conductor, Edo Dewaart. She said you could feel the energy and vibe from his gestures and the position of the camera makes it almost as if you are there with Edo playing an instrument. She was excited to paint something from the perspective of a musician in the orchestra.

This is day six 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 6, MSO by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 4 First Stage

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 4 of 16. Today, First Stage is the center of Shelby’s fourth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. First Stage brings young actors the opportunity to express themselves on the stage, and these young actors were expressing so much joy Keefe decided to make them her subjects today.

This is day four 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 4, First Stage theater by pfisterhotel

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 3 Milwaukee Repertory Theater

The  Milwaukee Repertory Theater inspires Shelby’s third UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Actors from The Rep’s To Kill a Mockingbird intrigued Keefe and are the subjects of her third installment in the series.

This is day three 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 3, MILW REP at My house in Bay View by pfisterhotel

UPAF ARTISTS AMONG US – Bel Canto Chorus


The Bel Canto Chorus inspires Shelby’s second UPAF Artist Among Us piece. Her subjects are the Bel Canto singers during their performance from the “United We Stand” concert in Cathedral Square Park.

This is day two 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.

troche 0,40,0″> Day 2, sale bel canto chorus at Pfister Hotel 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

 

The Weekend of Promise Rings

Saturday afternoon I was hanging out in Shelby’s studio watching her work on a painting of the Milwaukee Art Museum. She was searching to find her way through the piece. A stroke here, a stroke there. Step back, consider. Wipe with a moist towel, then determine another stroke. Having this rare intersection between a writer and a painter makes me feel like we’re living inside of Frank O’Hara’s poem Why I Am Not a Painter.

While I was seated on the couch a guy in his twenties walked in to the studio for a closer look at Shelby’s works on the wall. He announced that a painting based on a porch concert with a jazz 3 piece was his favorite. Shelby explained that it was from a series of three and brought out the other two to complete the set. The young man explained that he played guitar, bass, and drums.

Shelby's front porch series.

We exchanged names and handshakes. His name was Stefan and he went on to tell us that he was visiting from Ohio. One of his favorite bands is from Milwaukee and they’d played a reunion show the previous night at Turner Hall Ballroom. I had to chuckle that he was staying at the Pfister to see a Milwaukee band called The Promise Ring, when the next day the hotel was hosting it’s annual Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride show. Stefan had a full plate of plans, after touring Shelby’s gallery he planned to go across the street for dinner at the German restaurant Karl Ratzsch’s. After that it was off to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

Stefan took off for his night’s festivities and I roamed the halls for a little while. The 7th floor was poised to serve a wedding and reception for 400 guests. The entire floor was the quiet calm of glass drying, garnish preparation, finishing details of table settings. On the other side The Imperial Room was already prepared for the following day’s bridal show. Booths stood quiet and lit only by the wintertime windows of Wisconsin Avenue.

A few hours ago there was a 400 guest wedding in this ballroom. Now there's an Excalibur hanging around and dozens of other wedding-related sales booths.

I wandered up to the 23rd floor Blu and, while drinking a raspberry ginger mojito, listened to the flamenco guitar of Evan Christian. As things wound down in Mason Street Grill and the Jonathan Wade Trio played their last songs patrons started to find their way to the top floor lounge. The feel of the the room was like a big cushy adult playground looking out at the sparkling skyline. The night sky was so much a part of the ambience it may as well have been Evan’s backing band. After the wedding ended around midnight guests in suits, gowns, and tuxedos found their way up to the top. It was rather interesting to see several different parties taking place concurrently, spilling over into one another. Formal and informal. The young and the experienced. Nuzzling couples neighboring groomsmen. Jazz aficionados focusing intently next to country girls gulping shots of tequila. From my one bar stool I ended up conversing with a tango instructor, a jeweler with inventor aspirations, an over-the-road truck driver, a software engineer, and a history teacher.

Fred Astaire dance studios can choreograph a couple's first dance.

 

By Sunday morning the 7th floor was completely transformed. I walked around the bridal show in astonishment. Less than a dozen hours earlier 400 people enjoyed a lavish meal with drinks to match. For hours after dinner a DJ taught the dance floor How it’s fun to stay at the YMCA, and The way you look tonight. By morning there were dozens of purveyors, musicians, automobiles even, in place of where there had been a huge party just a few hours earlier. I walked downstairs and told the concierge, Roc, about how I couldn’t believe how quick this space had been completely transformed. It was like the wedding the night before had never even happened. “Oh, sure,” Roc explained, swatting gently at the air with his open palm, “We host events like that on a regular basis.” He chuckled, amused with my sophomore astonishment. “I’ve witnessed four weddings take place here simultaneously. That, my friend, is what we do at the Pfister.”

This was my favorite dress but I'm not sure if it's the right one for me.