Peck School initiative brings new artists, energy to INOVA Gallery

Administrators and educators in the Peck School of the Arts secured major grants this semester to pilot a new approach to community programming and art-making in the Kenilworth Square East INOVA Gallery, located at 2155 N. Prospect Ave.

A man crouches as he creates art with spray paint.
An artist works on a peace banner, part of a collaboration at the Kenilworth Square East INOVA Gallery with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Project Ujima. (Photo courtesy of Raoul Deal)

Funding for the revived gallery space includes $20,000 from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl fund; $30,000 from Milwaukee Public Schools Arts and Humanities Partnership; and $95,000 from the Brico Fund.

The Kenilworth Community Engagement Initiative is now wrapping up its pilot run, which director of community engagement and art education professor Kim Cosier calls “a grassroots project driven by our faculty and staff in real partnership with community organizations to reflect the Peck School’s philosophy of ‘making with’ the community rather than ‘making for’ the community.”

Cosier and a team of Peck School educators and facilities managers crafted plans in 2017 to transform the gallery into a showcase for community art projects. Peck’s community engagement team reviewed project proposals in late 2017, accepting and fully or partially funding six projects for the spring-semester pilot. These include:

  • Community art build with Voces de la Frontera
  • Scratch Sessions East with DJ Loop and DJ Bizzon
  • Peace Banner project with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Project Ujima

“We’ve seen hundreds of people – with some of the most diverse groups I’ve encountered on our campus – in the gallery making art that makes a difference in Milwaukee,” Cosier said. “And even though we’re still in the pilot phase of the initiative, we have already engaged many new community members.”

Additional grants will be announced this spring to fund new art collaborations in the Kenilworth Square East INOVA Gallery during the 2018-19 academic year. To learn more about round two of the initiative, Cosier invites members of the UWM and wider community to attend info sessions at 9 a.m. Monday, April 23, or 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 27. RSVP via email to

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