Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition is Taking Shape on Wisconsin Avenue

May 19, 2017

If you've been to downtown Milwaukee in the last week, you may have noticed curious shapes popping up along Wisconsin Ave. Workers are installing large sculptures, which will be on display for five months.

Local philanthropist Steve Marcus came up with the idea for the free, outdoor art gallery. He lobbied for it, for years. Marcus says people driving down the street are likely to take notice of the sculptures.

"They're pretty prominent, they're very large. They're what are called monumental museum-quality sculptures," Marcus says.

Marcus says the display includes a wide variety of pieces.

"They range from polyurethane, vinyl-type things to mainly bronze, very large bronzes. In one case, it happens to be our tallest piece called 'Vortex,' it's stainless steel, 40 feet tall. It's very large. These are very exciting pieces. Some of them are very fun, some are more serious. Mostly we wanted people to have fun," Marcus says.

Beth Weirick, Marilu Knode, Steve Marcus and Theresa Kubista pose alongside one of the pieces in the Sculpture Milwaukee exhibition
Credit Sculpture Milwaukee

Marcus hopes the sculptures attract out-of-town visitors, as well as Milwaukee area residents.

"Many people that I know say, 'well, gee, I haven't been downtown in years.' Well, downtown is a very exciting place in Milwaukee these days, and I think it's useful for them to come down and see it," Marcus says.

Marcus says he hopes the "Sculpture Milwaukee" exhibition will become an annual event, featuring different pieces each year.

Former Milwaukee Art Museum director Russell Bowman sought out the sculptures for this year's exhibition.