Milwaukee Museum Mile

 Celebrates 5 Years with Plein Air Competition
Saturday May 7 through May 14

Milwaukee, Wis.
, April 15, 2016 – To celebrate its 5-year anniversary, the Milwaukee Museum Mile is pleased to announce Art in the City: Plein Air MKE, an exciting new outdoor painting competition taking place from Saturday, May 7 through Saturday, May 14 on Milwaukee’s historic East Side. Up to 75 plein air artists from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and elsewhere will paint along the Milwaukee Museum Mile for five days and compete for $5,000 in awards.


This colorful, week-long gathering of artists, art lovers and collectors will culminate Thursday evening, May 12 with the Art in the City Soirée, to be held at Saint John’s On The Lake, when prizes will be awarded to winning artists and all paintings will be offered for sale. The Art in the City Soirée is a Milwaukee Museum Mile member/donor event. The general public is welcome to attend and purchase art for a $10 admission. There will also be a public art sale on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, also at Saint John’s On The Lake.


The main competition will kick off on Saturday, May 7 with artists painting within specified boundaries from Prospect and Juneau Avenues north to Lake Park. On the opening day, artists will also have an opportunity to win additional prizes at a timed quick paint competition. From 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. artists will have two and a half hours to paint along Brady Street on Milwaukee’s East Side. Paintings created on Brady Street will also be judged and offered for sale during the Art in the City Soirée and public art sale. Judges for both main and quick paint events are well-known and respected plein air artist Pamela Ruschman,, and art appraiser William DeLind.

In addition, each Milwaukee Museum Mile member museums will host an event at their museums throughout the week. Please visit for more information.


Art In The City Plein Air MKE benefits the museums of the Milwaukee Museum Mile, which is also celebrating its 5-year anniversary on Sunday, May 15. On that day, all member museums will be open to the public from 11am to 4pm, and offer free or reduced admissions. Visit for more information.


Milwaukee Museum Mile Art In The City Plein Air MKE Competition Schedule

Saturday, May 7 through Saturday, May 14 – Main Event, Soirée and Art Sale

Saturday, May 7 – Brady Street Quick Paint Competition

Saturday, May 7 through Wednesday, May 11 – Artists paint along the Milwaukee Museum Mile
Thursday, May 12 – Art in the City Soirée at Saint John’s On The Lake – Prizes awarded / Paintings for sale
Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 – Paintings for sale to the public at Saint John’s On The Lake


Art in the City Judges

Museums on the Milwaukee Museum Mile

Five small and medium sized arts and culture museums, located on Milwaukee’s historic East Side along the Lake Michigan shoreline, have created the Milwaukee Museum Mile. This joint effort among the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, The Charles Allis Art Museum, Museum of Wisconsin Art at Saint John’s On The Lake, The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, and the North Point Lighthouse at Lake Park, creates a simple and more affordable way for visitors to access and enjoy multiple museum experiences, while promoting the area as a destination to Milwaukee residents and visitors to our city. The museums are located in close proximity to one another, along N. Prospect Avenue and on N. Wahl and N. Terrace Avenues, creating a comfortable stroll for visitors, who can choose the sites most interesting to them and divide their time as they prefer. Milwaukee Museum Mile Day admission discounts follow each museum below:


  • Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Avenue (414-390-5730) – Free Admission
  • Charles Allis Art Museum, 1801 N. Prospect Avenue (414-278-8295) – Free Admission
  • Museum of Wisconsin Art at Saint John’s On The Lake, 1800 N. Prospect Avenue (414-831-6875) – Free
  • Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Avenue (414-271-3656) – Free Admission
  • North Point Lighthouse, 2650 N. Wahl Avenue (414-332-6754) – Reduced Admission


More information about the Milwaukee Museum Mile is available at

June 2–September 18, 2016


Milwaukee, WI (March 2016) – The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is delighted to announce its first-ever commission for a site-specific installation amid its formal gardens. Nature in Three Parts (June 2–September 18, 2016) features the work of Milwaukee-based environmental artist Roy Staab. The exhibition encompasses Shadow Dance, Staab’s newest site-specific installation in the Villa’s Renaissance Garden; Suspended in Time, a survey of photographs highlighting his previous national and international installations in the museum galleries; and Beyond Baskets, an exhibition guest curated by Staab with works on loan from the collection of Jan Serr and John Shannon.


The exhibition opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 2, 2016 from 6:00–8:00 p.m. with an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. The public is also invited to the opening of the Renaissance Garden on June 5 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Other events include a dance performance by Wild Space Dance Company and a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition closing.


Exhibition Quick Look:

  • Nature in Three Parts: Shadow Dance is the premiere of Roy Staab’s newest site-specific installation in the Villa Terrace Renaissance Garden.
  • Nature in Three Parts: Suspended in Time surveys Staab’s previous work in photographs and video, in the Villa Terrace galleries.
  • Nature in Three Parts: Beyond Baskets features works from the collection of Jan Serr and John Shannon in the Villa Terrace’s Dake Gallery.
  • Exhibition is open to the public from June 2–September 18, 2016.
  • Artist talk and reception will be held on Thursday, June 2, with hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. Members are welcome at 5:30. The general public is invited from 6:00–8:00 p.m. Roy Staab is scheduled to speak about his work at 7:00 p.m.
  • Public opening of the Villa’s Renaissance Garden; free admission to the galleries and gardens from 1:00–5:00 p.m. on June 5.


What is Environmental Art?

Emerging in the late 1960s, Environmental Art developed as a medium for artists to interact directly with the natural world. Often using materials found on the site of their installations, environmental artists create works that communicate with and reflect the natural environment. Seminal works such as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, both completed in 1970, have influenced later artists working in Environmental or Land Art. Unlike these works, which left permanent marks on the land, Staab’s work rests lightly. His assemblages of natural materials gradually decay into the environment without a trace.


About the Artist

After completing his most recent installations in Gujarat, India, Staab has returned to his hometown of Milwaukee to create his newest work for the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, using willows gathered from Milwaukee County Parks. A maker of site-specific environmental installations, Staab works with materials found at or near the site including reeds, stones, saplings, mud, and snow. His work reflects the environment from which it is created and mimics the innate geometry and structure of nature. Staab’s work is ephemeral. He strives to achieve and photograph a perfect moment before the art is taken back by nature.


Beginning his artistic practice as a painter, Staab then experimented with drawing and this evolved into site-specific installations using natural materials. Staab built his first installation in 1979 and began creating site-specific installations with local natural materials in 1983. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he has exhibited at local venues including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Lynden Sculpture Garden, and Kohler Art Center.  He has also led residencies and workshops and exhibited his work internationally in France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Korea, Russia, and most recently, India. His work is in international collections including Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI.


About Nature in Three Parts


Shadow Dance

Staab’s site-specific work at the Villa Terrace Museum will be constructed at the base of a steep bluff, in The Renaissance Garden, a grassy area between the early twentieth-century Italian-style villa and Lake Michigan. Sited on the central axis of the grounds, between an obelisk and a waterfall staircase, the primary view of the sculpture will be from the terrace and the windows of the museum. Visitors may experience the work from the lower grounds. The installation will remain on the Villa Terrace grounds throughout the summer, changing with the season, and engaging and contrasting with the symmetrical beds of trees and flowers.


Suspended in Time

This exhibition, in the Villa Terrace galleries, surveys Staab’s previous work documented in photographs and video. Providing context to his current installation, these images depict his environmental installations in varied materials, changing seasons, urban and rural settings, in water and on land, and in locations throughout the world.

Beyond Baskets
Guest curated by Staab from the collection of Jan Serr and John Shannon, Beyond Baskets focuses on the transformative nature of contemporary basket making. Emphasizing line, structure, and materials, the exhibition showcases artists who adapt the vernacular of basketry as a vehicle for personal expression. According to Staab, “The parameters I used to select these pieces were that they needed to be unique, express geometry and simplicity, and touch some of the sensibilities I search for in my own work.” They are displayed in a circular formation that echoes the structure of many of Staab’s environmental installations. The exhibition includes works by Joe Hogan, Ueno Masao, Francina and Neil Prince, Deborah Smith, Polly Adams Sutton, Leslie Wilcox, Hiroi Yasushi, and Jiro Yonezawa.


Contributing Sponsors 
Jan Serr and John Shannon, Plumb Press, and additional support from the Milwaukee County Parks.



Print or web resolution images will be provided on request. Photographs of the new site-specific work will be available in mid- to late-May. The following images depict a variety of Roy Staab’s site specific environmental installations and the artist in the process of making them. Some of these images will be featured in the exhibition.

About the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum was designed and built in the style of an Italian Renaissance villa by architect David Adler in 1923. The building was originally the residence of former A.O. Smith president, Lloyd Smith, and his family. The museum features fine and decorative arts dating from the 15th through the 18th centuries, wrought-iron masterpieces by Cyril Colnik, the Renaissance Garden, and changing exhibitions. 


Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

2220 N. Terrace Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Public hours:  Wednesday–Sunday, 1–5 p.m.

General Admission: $7/adult, $5/student, senior (62+) and veterans 
Free for museum members, children 12 & under, and active military

Visit us at
For More Information: Jenille Junco / / 414-278-8295

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