Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood is something of a mecca for people in creative fields. And so it only makes sense that it would be the headquarters to an artists’ collective which strives to engage the community at-large in areas like films, non-traditional exhibits, workshops and other events.
It goes by the somewhat unlikely name of After School Special. Currently based out of a raw space in Riverwest, the location provides studios for eight current members and houses their gallery, The Lunchbox. The group seeks to give a platform to new and emerging artists.
"Milwaukee is a really great place to be a young artist, especially coming out of school," says Kayle Karbowski of the After School Special. "The art scene here is small, but very vibrant and a lot of the artists that are prominent in the community teach at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, or MIAD. So it makes it easy to get involved kind of right away, even when you're in school."
The group’s second annual Grilled Cheese Grant fundraiser, happening Saturday from 3 - 7 pm, is an effort to involve the public in selecting and supporting the top projects done by MIAD seniors all while eating grilled cheese sandwiches.
For After School Project founding member Rachel Hausmann, the entire concept of the organization and its fundraiser is a reflection of their communal mindset. "Once you graduate from school, a lot of times you're just kind of dropped out there on your own...So having the eight of us still together and supporting each other as artists, as colleagues...that was a really nice transition from being in school and then moving on. You're not doing it alone."