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HomeWorks: Bronzeville
Charter


August 9, 2017


NORTH STAR STATEMENT

To celebrate African-American culture and the history and re-emergence of Bronzeville in Milwaukee, we focus on local creative entrepreneurial talent by supporting property ownership, market development, civic art production, neighbor engagement, youth leadership, and health and well-being.


OVERVIEW

This is a charter for HomeWorks: Bronzeville, a cultural development project initiated in 2016 and located in the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District in Milwaukee. We seek to cultivate North Avenue and the blocks that surround the main street from 4th to 6th from Meinecke Street to Garfield Avenue.

Through an arts and cultural development focus, our intentions are to rehabilitate residential and commercial properties, enhance green public space, engage neighbors and visitors, and encourage sustainable growth for artists and the district. The project’s backbone is an artist housing cluster where each owner-occupied property is a container for a professional artist’s live-work practice, to incubate entrepreneurial culture and youth development in Bronzeville.

HomeWorks: Bronzeville is co-directed by Mikal Floyd-Pruitt of I Am Milwaukee, Vedale Hill of Jazale’s Art Studio and Sara Daleiden of MKE<->LAX. Additional collaborators include the City of Milwaukee, CUPED Corporation, Thurman Grant Architect, Strong Blocks, Bradley Contractors and other cultural leaders from the District and the city.

The Project is guided by City leadership including Alderwoman Milele Coggs, the Bronzeville Advisory Committee, and Rhonda Manuel of the Department of City Development in connection with the City’s Bronzeville Redevelopment Plan, the Bronzeville Artist Housing Report and the Art and Resource Community Hub (ARCH) Loan Program.

Neighborhood partners include Friends of Bronzeville, Jeff Lamar Brown, Historic King Drive BID, Milwaukee Urban League, America’s Black Holocaust Museum, P3 Development, Healthy Words,
Halyard Park Neighborhood Association, Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative, Brewers Hill Neighborhood Association, Community First, ACTS Housing, NEWaukee, Employ Milwaukee, MATA Community Media, Marketplace BID, Martin Luther King Economic Development Association, Riverworks Development Corporation and BID, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), Urban Economic Development Association (UEDA) and other local and national arts and cultural leaders interested in African-American cultural developments in American urban contexts.
VALUES

Using the core values of love, well-being, safety, generosity, sustainability, respect, sovereignty, reciprocity, and equity, we will collaborate to:

● Encourage neighbor engagement of residences and businesses in our arts and cultural programming and neighborhood stakeholder activities.
● Image Bronzeville as an arts, culture and creative entrepreneurship hub for African-American culture in connection with all U.S. American cultures.
● Focus on healthy, sustainable living in everything we generate.
● Strive to provide sustainable homes for existing residents without displacement, and healthy living
conditions if a move of a resident is deemed necessary.
● Design aesthetic guidelines for properties and neighborhood with respect for different cultural aesthetics and to incorporate critique.
● Invest in public space that is interconnected, green, pleasant, and plentiful with an array of art
experiences.
● Activate blocks for safety and connection for all neighbors.
● Acknowledge and compensate labor for artists and other creative entrepreneurs.
● Prioritize an intergenerational environment based in mentorship, with a focus on young adultsmfrom 18-30.
● Offer regular healthy meals and conversation with neighbors to stay abreast of each other’s interests.
● Support artists and other creative entrepreneurs to own property for living and working as a long-term investment in the neighborhood.
● Curate and support a network of innovative, professional artists and other creative entrepreneurs.
● Create and broaden an arts market in Bronzeville as a center for the region.
● Offer a cultural destination for locals and inter/national visitors.
● Generate a balance of local and inter/national investment.
● Prioritize African-American cultural representation and balance with other cultural representation among new property owners.
● Focus on the financial health of this initiative and its collaborators, with wealth generation potential for all residents and business owners.
● Generate a shared financial resource to weather financial strain with residents and to avoid displacement.
● Co-produce a learning community around cultural development for a disinvested neighborhood with significant growth underway.
● Generate a model for healthy property management for renters and other affiliates.


OUTCOMES

We will measure our accomplishments by:

● Completion of four customized creative live-work owner-occupied properties with artist property owners which will be rehabilitated from City foreclosures and vacant lots, and contribute to the City’s tax base by 2019. (Identified properties include 322-340 Meinecke St, 2406-08 N 4th St, 540 W North Ave and 2351 N 6th St.)
● Identification of additional properties and artist property owners to reach goal of 10-15 rehabilitated properties in the project focus area.
● Manageable property loans for artist property owners with a rent-to-own option, orientation to property ownership responsibilities and sustainable financial planning.
● Attract five art and creative entrepreneurship businesses to own and occupy rehabilitated properties and explore sustainable business support.
● Sign customized agreement with each artist property owner that defines occupation of the property as a live-work space for a minimum of five years and offers annual public programming and neighbor engagement activities based in creative practices.
● Year-round, arts-focused, sanctioned public programs on the interior and exterior of the properties in alignment with existing initiatives.
● Development of a green space network of public and private properties based in art experiences.
● Expressive surveys and interviews with neighbors and visitors through our public programs and audio-visual storybuilding documentation.
● Distribution of meaningful public relations materials about artists and Bronzeville regionally and nationally in print and online, noting press articles and dialogue threads on social media.
● Mentoring and compensation for young adults living in or near neighborhood during design-build
process as well as public program and public relations production.
● Neighborhood leadership network aligned from existing leaders and groups along with new property owners with regular gathering schedule to review collaboration.
● Endowment for ongoing programming and projects based in arts and neighbor engagement, as
well as to support long-term property ownership and equitable development in the district.
● Active participation in City or private development initiatives for Bronzeville such as the National League of Cities Equitable Economic Development Fellowship, the Streetcar Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Study, and the Historic Garfield School Cultural Campus.
DEVELOPMENT BACKGROUND

We are currently working closely with Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Rhonda Manuel and the City's Bronzeville Advisory Committee on the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District Redevelopment Initiative, from Garfield Street to Center Street, and Dr Martin Luther King Drive to 7th Street. Through this initiative, we supported the City to define and approve the landmark Art and Resource Community Hub (ARCH) Loan Program and will continue to refine the program throughout production of this initial cluster.

We additionally offer advising to the City in relationship to the National League of Cities Equitable Economic Development Fellowship and the Streetcar Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Study. We are excited about HomeWorks: Bronzeville in relationship to North Avenue which is further stimulating new arts, culture and business investment. Anchors in this cluster are Pete’s Farmer’s Market, Gee’s Clippers, and the redevelopment of the Historic Garfield School Cultural Campus with The Griot apartment complex that will be the new home for the America’s Black Holocaust Museum. Our project is connected with the MKE United: Greater Downtown Action Agenda led by the City of Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Milwaukee Urban League, and other civic leadership who share alignment with our interests. We seek alignment with the $3 billion being invested in new Downtown development one mile South including the Bucks sports arena and entertainment district and the streetcar line which will connect to Bronzeville.

By the 1930s, the number of African-American owned businesses in the original Bronzeville exceeded all other areas of the City. In the late 1960’s a portion of Walnut Street was demolished to make room for a freeway. Despite this loss, the memory of Bronzeville remains strong in Milwaukee. The Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District is a City of Milwaukee redevelopment initiative inspired by Milwaukee’s original Bronzeville District of the early to mid 1900s. The primary African-American economic and social hub of its time, Bronzeville brought many ethnicities together to celebrate African-American culture, highlighting jazz, blues and the arts. Those living in Bronzeville recall a bustling economic landscape with restaurants, retail, and nightclubs such as Metropole Club and the Moon Glow featuring performances by such pioneers as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Nat “King” Cole, to mention a few. Our 21st Century Bronzeville initiative is revitalizing this area of Milwaukee where African-American culture has been a mainstay.

Bronzeville is re-emerging as the vibrant cultural and entertainment district that it once was and healing from the significant disinvestment and separation of recent decades. The neighborhood has grown with foreclosures, vacant properties and absentee property owners. 92% of the population is African-American with 40% aged 24 or under, and 61% is low income. Safety for neighbors and visitors is a significant concern for those in the area. HomeWorks: Bronzeville serves as a catalyst for revitalization with its focuses on neighborhood stabilization, rehabilitation of foreclosed properties, economic development, neighbor engagement, young adult entrepreneurial development, and arts and cultural programming. This project is in alignment with the City’s 2005 Bronzeville Arts and Cultural District Amendment to the North 7th Street - West Garfield Avenue Redevelopment Project Area Plan and the 2015 Bronzeville Artist Housing Report. The Bronzeville District is slated to offer compelling opportunities for locals and tourists by bringing together history, art, commerce, community and culture rooted in this rich urban tradition.

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

All of our communications offer an opportunity to increase our trust with each other during a complex and sensitive collaborative project and increase public understanding of our neighborhood development project. We share the understanding that all our communications with each other and to the public will be polite, clear, concise, timely, and compassionate. Where our actions or decisions will be delayed, we will communicate with those affected and indicate a new estimated time for completion. We will facilitate meetings independently and collectively as needed and strive to communicate with each other regularly.

Where possible, external communications including press or funder inquiries will be funneled through Sara Daleiden as the Project spokesperson, who will identify Project interviewees and provide media as needed. Sara will issue press releases to the media and respond to any subsequent inquiries. All project documents and internal data are to be confidential unless approved by Sara for release.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

HomeWorks: Bronzeville will be acknowledged as follows in all public relations materials, applications and other relevant documents as released by any of the collaborators. Collaborators will keep each other
updated to use of this acknowledgment.

HomeWorks: Bronzeville is a cultural development project initiated in 2016 and located in the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District in Milwaukee. HomeWorks: Bronzeville is co-directed by Mikal Floyd-Pruitt of I Am Milwaukee, Vedale Hill of Jazale’s Art Studio and Sara Daleiden of MKE<->LAX.

Additional collaborators include the City of Milwaukee, CUPED Corporation, Thurman Grant Architect, Strong Blocks, and other cultural leaders from the neighborhoods and the city. The Project is guided by City leadership including Alderwoman Milele Coggs, the Bronzeville Advisory Committee, and Rhonda Manuel of the Department of City Development in connection with the City’s Bronzeville Redevelopment Plan, the Bronzeville Artist Housing Report and the Art and Resource Community Hub (ARCH) Loan Program.