Chelsea Wait

(414) 229-4200
Mitchell Hall 371


Chelsea Wait is a PhD candidate in Architecture in the buildings-landscapes-cultures program (BLC) at the School of Architecture and Planning (SARUP), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Coming from an interdisciplinary background, Chelsea has focused on community collaboration, storytelling, public history, local architecture history, and integrates her public art practice. Her dissertation uses the BLC field school interviews and documentation to focus on care, more specifically how residents of Milwaukee’s North Side care for their homes, streets, neighbors, and neighborhoods in ways that the municipality cannot. This paints a more detailed look at who building ‘users’ are, and a long-term perspective on the relationship between users and the buildings and places they inhabit. Chelsea has practiced studio art as well as public art with murals in Milwaukee, Wyoming, Indiana, and Navajo Nation. Her arts practice involves woodworking, painting, pottery, furniture, and lighting design. She has received a 2014 UWM Teaching Award as well as the 2014 Leenhouts Memorial Scholarship. She was a 2018 Ambassador from UWM for the Vernacular Architecture Forum. She has presented her work at conferences of the Society of Architectural Historians, American Folklore Society, Imagining America, the Vernacular Architecture Forum, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (UWM), and the Landscape, Space, and Place Conference at Indiana University.

In addition to her arts practice, she has professional experience with the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis in Turkey, a joint project between Cornell University and Harvard Art Museums. Since 2013, she is has taught a course in the Peck School of the Arts entitled Multicultural America, about visual culture, race, and artistic representation.


Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Ball State University, 2008
Bachelor of Science in French, Ball State University, 2008

Research Focus

Architectural History and Theory
Community Engagement
Public History
Race and the American Landscape
Material Culture
Visual Culture


ART 150: Multicultural America

Selected Work

“Race and Place in the American Landscape,” Paper Presented at Society of Architectural Historians Annual conference, April 16-18, 2018.
“Racialization of the Landscape,” Paper Presented at the Landscape, Space, and Place Conference at Indiana University, March 2018.
“Home and Community Storytelling” Workshop Organizer at the Annual Gathering of Imagining America, March 2016.
“Perspectives on Field Schools,” Panel at the 2013 American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, April 2014.
Islands of Milwaukee Final Exhibit, Milwaukee City Hall, October 2013.