Black Arts MKE wants to cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for black per­form­ers in Mil­wau­kee.

A lo­cal non­profit is creat­ing a plat­form for black per­form­ers.

Milwaukee Magazine - - Content - - LIND­SEY AN­DER­SON

BAR­BARA WANZO, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Black Arts MKE, doesn’t iden­tify as an artist, but she does have a cre­ative vi­sion – for a bet­ter, brighter Mil­wau­kee.

Black Arts MKE aims to help lo­cal African Amer­i­can-led arts groups with their fi­nances, fundrais­ing and mar­ket­ing. Since of­fi­cially open­ing its doors in Jan­uary of 2015, the non­profit has worked with the Bronzeville Arts En­sem­ble and Ko-Thi Dance Com­pany

(the third-old­est African Amer­i­can dance troupe in the coun­try) to help the groups find new au­di­ences while also bal­anc­ing their books.

“The founder was us­ing her own re­sources to fund the chil­dren’s en­sem­ble for years,” Wanzo says of Ko-Thi. “Now it’s in the black and has a sus­tain­able af­ter-school pro­gram.”

Black Arts MKE also co-presents acts with the Mar­cus Cen­ter – na­tion­ally tour­ing ones, such as Black Vi­o­lin, as well as lo­cally pro­duced ones, such as the Langston Hughes-penned gospel pow­er­house Black Na­tiv­ity. And Wanzo wants to keep ad­ding pro­grams to its an­nual ros­ter, un­til Black Arts MKE is pre­sent­ing as many shows as es­tab­lished com­pa­nies such as the Mil­wau­kee Reper­tory Theater.

Thanks to a re­cent $18,000 grant from the United Per­form­ing Arts Fund, that goal now seems more reach­able than ever.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.