What to know about Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Week, from entertainment and art to culture and commerce

In this Journal Sentinel file photo, a banner went across North Avenue near King Drive as part of Bronzeville Week, celebrating the historically African American Milwaukee neighborhood.

Bronzeville Week — the Milwaukee neighborhood’s annual celebration of African American culture, commerce, art, history, entertainment and more — kicks off this weekend. 

Bronzeville, anchored by King Drive, was the primary African American economic and social hub from the early 1900s to the 1960s, according to the city of Milwaukee’s website

It’s on its way to becoming that again

Earlier this year, the neighborhood was included on The New York Times’ annual list of 52 places to visit this year. 

And what better time to visit than Bronzeville Week, which runs Saturday through Aug. 13?

Here’s what to know about the week’s worth of festivities, from the Bronzeville Cultural and Arts Festival to the Bronzeville ArtWalk and Afro Caribbean Cultural Celebration. Most of this information was pulled from the celebration’s schedule

CULTURE AND ART

Bronzeville Center for the Arts community mural, free programming (Multiple dates) 

The Bronzeville Center for the Arts is hosting a community mural project and other free programming throughout Bronzeville Week, according to a news release. 

A 24-by-8-foot mural — designed by Dasia Bryant, a MIAD communication design major — will celebrate the “rich artistic history” of Bronzeville, Brad Anthony Bernard of Bernard Art Studio and the leader of the mural project, said in a news release.

“Through the inclusion and depiction of Milwaukee artists, organizations and history, the mural highlights the heritage and future of the Bronzeville community and cultural pride. I am so pleased to guide our students during this exciting community project,” said Bernard, a Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design professor and artist. 

The mural will be painted throughout the week. It will be located on the west-facing wall of 2300 N. King Drive, the future home of the Bronzeville Center for the Arts, a news release said. It will remain on the site until construction begins, with the potential to become a permanent installation when the center opens.

The project is being done in collaboration with six student interns from MIAD.

The BCA is working with multiple partners for its free programming, a news release said: 

  • A giveaway for Della Wells x BCA Exclusive Tote Bags will be going on throughout the week on a first-come, first-served basis, a news release said. The bags feature art by Della Wells, BCA vice president and Milwaukee artist. 
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum’s mobile Kohl’s Art Studio will offer free activities for kids ages 12 and under from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 6, 9 and 12. 
  • A family-friendly banner art project will be going on from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 13. Art Build Workers and interns from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art Education Department will work with children and families to color Bronzeville-themed posters, which they can take home. 
  • The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Art Therapy Association will host three art therapy sessions between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Aug. 13. They will be led and facilitated by professional, licensed therapists. 
  • Local artists Amar Nsoroma, JBird Sterling and Tia Richardson will offer free portrait sketches to Bronzeville Week attendees on a first-come, first-served basis from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 13.

All programming will be held at 2300 N. King Drive.

Bronzeville Cultural & Arts Festival (Aug. 7)

The Bronzeville Cultural & Arts Festival on Aug. 7 will feature vendors, food, three live entertainment stages and a kids zone, the Bronzeville Week schedule said. 

The fest runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on North Avenue, between King Drive and 7th Street. 

Rooted in Culture (Aug. 9)

Maranta Plant Shop 1739 N. King Drive, is hosting “Rooted in Culture” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 9. The description of last year’s event of the same name said: The Maranta team highlights the native origin, history and care information of plants. 

Cool-Aid & Canvases (Aug. 10)

Cool-Aid & Canvases, which has limited capacity, will be held at noon Aug. 10 at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Martin Luther King Branch, 310 W. Locust St. 

Paint-N-Sip (Aug. 12)

Jewels Caribbean Bar Restaurant & Lounge, 2722 N. Dr. MLK Jr. Drive, will be hosting a Paint-N-Sip event at 7 p.m. Aug. 12. 

ACTIVITIES AND CELEBRATIONS

HaRUNbee 5K Walk/Run for Healthy Birth Outcomes (Aug. 6) 

Organized by the National Coalition for Healthy Black Families, Inc., the HaRUNbee 5K Walk/Run for Healthy Birth Outcomes will be held Aug. 6. 

The run was designed to raise awareness and prevent unhealthy birth outcomes, and also encourage families to stay healthy and fit, both mentally and physically, the event’s website said

Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the race begins at 8:30 a.m. at King Drive and North Avenue. 

For pricing info or to register, visit raceroster.com/events/2022/54779/harunbee-5k-walkrun-for-healthy-birth-outcomes

This Journal Sentinel File photo features Bronzeville Week's HaRUNbee 5K Walk/Run for Healthy Birth Outcomes.

Empowerment Sunday Outdoor combined service (Aug. 7) 

The Empowerment Sunday Outdoor combined service, from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 7, will feature King Solomon Baptist Church and Ephesians Missionary Baptist Church on the Gospel Stage, located at King Drive and North Avenue. 

Bronzeville Trolley Rides (Aug. 11)  

Bronzeville Trolley Rides will run from 2 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Aug. 11. Pick-up and drop-off will be at America’s Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W. North Ave. 

Trivia Night hosted by Black Lens MKE (Aug. 11)

Hosted by Black Lens MKE, a trivia night will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Q Restaurant, 2370 King Drive. 

Harambee Back to School Block Party (Aug. 12)

A Harambee Back to School Block Party will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 12 on Vel R. Phillips Avenue, between Wright Street and Meinecke Avenue. It’s hosted by Northcott Neighborhood house, Bader Philanthropies and Westcare Wisconsin. 

Sleepover for Education (Aug. 12)

On Aug. 12, a Sleepover for Education will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. on the corner of King Drive and North Avenue. School supplies are warmly accepted, the Bronzeville Week schedule said. 

“What we do is we take the school supplies, once we gather all the school supplies, and we donate it to school in need,” activist Tracey Dent said in a previous Journal Sentinel interview

At least six other people have committed to stay out all night with Dent, but he said “the more, the merrier. … Everybody is welcome to come hang out with us,” adding that members of the Milwaukee Police Department will be on hand.

Dent has also started a GoFundMe page to help raise $2,000 to help purchase more school supplies. 

Red, Bike and Green Bronzeville Ride (Aug. 13)

The Red, Bike and Green Bronzeville Ride will run from 10 to 11 a.m. Aug. 13. Participants should meet at Gee’s Clippers, 2200 N. King Drive. 

Bronzeville ArtWalk and Afro Caribbean Cultural Celebration (Aug. 13)

The Bronzeville ArtWalk will feature live Afro Caribbean performances, craft vendors, interactive performances, live art demonstrations, caricature drawings, performance and visual artists, and traditional cuisine and drinks, according to the event’s Facebook page

The Aug. 13 event runs from noon to 5:30 p.m. on King Drive, between Garfield Avenue and Meinecke Avenue. 

MIXING FOOD AND ART

Brunch in Bronzeville (Aug. 6)

There will be live music from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at Rise & Grind Cafe, 2737 King Drive; Dr. Jewels Caribbean Bar Restaurant and Lounge, 2230 King Drive; and Mi Case Su Cafe, 1835 King Drive. 

Food for Thought poetry experience at Q Restaurant (Aug. 9)

“Food for Thought: A Fresh New Poetry Experience” will feature an open mic spoken word, comedy and live entertainment show at Q Restaurant, 2730 King Drive, on Aug. 9, according to an online brochure. Special guests include hosts Trunk and Gideon, and Ignite DJs. 

A full course menu and drink specials will be available. There will also be Black art vendors.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. 

Healthy Food Demonstration (Aug. 12)

A healthy food demonstration with Tomira White of Delicious Bites will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at Pete’s Fruit Market, 2323 King Drive. 

Pancakes and Poetry (Aug. 13)

Pancakes and Poetry, hosted by Mario the Poet, will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 13 at Rise & Grind Café, 2737 King Drive. 

MUSIC 

Summer Blues and Jazz Concert Series Finale (Aug. 6)

Hosted by Bader Philanthropies & Northcott Neighborhood House, the Summer Blues and Jazz Concert Series Finale will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 6 at 2640 North 6th Street. 

Sound Judgment: HYFIN Edition listening session (Aug. 10)

Sound Judgement: HYFIN Edition will feature a listening session on Aug. 10 to help shape the sound of HYFIN, Radio Milwaukee’s Black Urban Alternative channel, according to an online brochure

The channel’s programming team will share a playlist of songs that have their DJs split, and attendees will vote to help decide which songs make it on air. 

The gathering, co-hosted by HYPHIN Advisory Board Genyne Edwards and James Phelps, will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at BLACK 1916, 1916 N. Dr. MLK Jr. Drive (rear entrance). 

Pre-registration is required. 

Soul Unplugged On the Porch (Aug. 11)

Soul Unplugged On the Porch will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at Garfield’s, 502 W. Garfield Avenue. 

BUSINESS 

Bronzeville Business Breakfast at Dead Bird Brewing Co. (Aug. 10)

The Bronzeville Business Breakfast at Dead Bird Brewing Co., 1726 N. 5th Street, will be held Aug. 10. 

Registration and breakfast runs from 8 to 8:45 a.m., with a program following from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

“Hear updates on district developments and initiatives,” an online brochure said. “Honor the thriving members of Historic King Drive BID #8.” 

Capacity is limited and registration is required. To register, visit kingdriveis.com/bronzeville-week/2022-bronzeville-business-breakfast-registration

Business in Bronzeville: A Primer on Business Entity (Aug. 12)

Business in Bronzeville: A Primer on Business Entity will be hosted by The Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers African American Chamber of Commerce. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at 1920 King Drive. 

HYBRID IN-PERSON/LIVESTREAMED EVENTS

All hybrid and virtual events can be viewed at facebook.com/BronzevilleWeek

Black Arts MKE Intro to Theater Class (Aug. 8)

Black Arts MKE Intro to Theater Class will be held on Aug. 8 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Martin Luther King Branch, 310 W. Locust St. 

America’s Black Holocaust Museum presents: “A Conversation on Arts, Culture and Community” (Aug. 8)

On Aug. 8, America’s Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W. North Ave., will present “A Conversation on Arts, Culture and Community.”

A reception starts at 5 p.m., with the program running from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

A Conversation with actor, singer and Milwaukee native Jacob Latimore (Aug. 10)

A Conversation with actor, singer and Milwaukee native Jacob Latimore will be held at noon on Aug. 10 at America’s Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W. North Ave. 

Space is limited and those who wish to attend must pre-register

Virtual offerings

  • Embody Yoga with Joanna Brooks will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 8. 
  • Lit with Lay with Kalayla Tatum, from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 8, will feature today’s hottest dance moves. 
  • Just Us and Books with Dannette Justus will run from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 9. 
  • Bronzeville Story Time featuring “Khloe’s Beautiful Blues” by LaKetta Caldwell will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 11. 
  • Sound Bath Reflecting the Sun with Melissa Blue, which will use a therapeutic sound bath to induce relaxation and harmony, starts at 1 p.m. on Aug. 11. 

For more information on Bronzeville Week, visit city.milwaukee.gov/Bronzeville/Things-to-Do/Bronzeville-Week and facebook.com/BronzevilleWeek

Drake Bentley of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report. 

Contact Hannah Kirby at hannah.kirby@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.

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