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Photo by MATC

On Oct. 6 community artists, including two Milwaukee Area Technical College students and an alumnus, gathered to publicly unveil MATC’s Community Arts project “Breaking Through. The artwork will be open to the public Oct. 15-16 as part of Gallery Night Milwaukee at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus, 700 W. State St.

Last December, community artists were invited to send proposals for new or already-created art to be used to beautify MATC’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus, which has recently undergone renovations.

Photo by MATC

Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC president, explained, “The name of this show — “Breaking Through” — speaks to our work to break down barriers between students and their academic and career success. That includes providing a safe place where differences are valued and celebrated, and where we can create a sense of belonging.”

Photo by MATC

Work from 13 artists were selected and is now installed across the campus.

Photo by MATC

Community artists Byada, Kevin Boatright, Rochelle Weiner Carr, Enrique Del Aguila, Melissa Dorn and Libby Sutton joined Martin today; along with Julie Ashlock, Darele Bisquerra and Melissa Hartley-Omholt of the MATC Community Arts Committee.

Photo by MATC

Other artists in this inaugural show are Kim Burnett, Steffon Dixon, John Kowalczyk, Lennis Mathews, Dennis Robert, Julia Scheckel and Eric Stenzel.

Photo by MATC

Dr. Julie Ashlock, chair of the Community Arts Committee, said, “Too rarely artists actually get paid to share their efforts, the toils of their creation. So often it stacks up in their studios, living a life unfulfilled. This show opens up those doors and offers us a glimpse into the lives, hearts, souls and minds of others who through training, practice and devotion to their craft have achieved a level of proficiency that, coupled with hard work and desire, brings them to that magical place of creation. To make something from nothing but a thought, a fleeting vision, an impassioned research-driven quest or a deeply ingrained memory is a gift they are sharing with us.”

Photo by MATC

Each artist spoke about their work and thanked the college for the opportunity.

Photo by MATC

Student artist Del Aguila explained that he had made a smaller version of his artwork “Corazon de la Vida (Heart of Life)” earlier, but expanded upon it for the show. His work captures many important symbols of the Latino culture. Creating this piece “took me to the next level, to detail I’d never explored,” he said. “To me it says, ‘This is the moment, we’ve got to live.’”

Student photography artist Sutton, who works in health care, hit on a common theme for several artists.

“Working on artwork gave me something to ground myself during the last two years of the pandemic,” she said. “It helped me channel my frustration and energy into something positive.”

MATC’s artwork will be open to the public during Gallery Night, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16. To learn more about the artwork, visit: https://www.matc.edu/community/community-art-breaking-through.html.

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