2021 Mildred L. Harpole Artists of the Year,
Friends of the Arts Awards
Artists Anne Kingsbury and Klassik (Kellen Abston) were named 2021 Mildred L. Harpole Artists of the Year, while the Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 and Near West Side Partners were named the 2021 Friends of the Arts.
“Our city is so fortunate to have such talented artists, like Klassik and Anne, bringing great beauty to our community, along with the many organizations that help support and showcase these local artists,” said Alderman Michael Murphy, Milwaukee Arts Board Chair.
Anne Kingsbury, 2021 Artist of the Year: Longtime Wisconsin resident and former UW-Milwaukee educator, Anne Kingsbury is an artist, community activist and co-founder of the Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.
Kingsbury is a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, has received three grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and is a proud recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Her art has been featured in national craft publications, major exhibitions and museum collections that showcase her talent and commitment to the arts. Read more about Kingsbury HERE.
*Right photo: 26th Annual Artist of the Year Anne Kingsbury with (left to right) Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Nik Kovac and Alderman Michael Murphy at the Marcus Performing Arts Center*
Klassik (Kellen Abston) is an award-winning, multi-instrumentalist producer and performer. An MPS alumni, Klassik began studying saxophone with Milwaukee jazz legend Berkeley Fudge at ten-years-old. Eventually evolving from a jazz saxophonist to producer, emcee and singer, Klassik has opened for world-renowned artists including Ludacris, Talib Kweli, Kendrick Lamar, Banks, DJ Premier, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Rakim.
Through working with Milwaukee’s youth and local arts organizations, Klassik embraces the true meaning of community by helping young people and artists realize their dreams. Read more about Klassik HERE.
*Right photo: 26th Annual Artist of the Year Klassik (third from left) with (left to right) Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Nik Kovac and Alderman Michael Murphy at the Marcus Performing Arts Center*
Milwaukee Downtown BID #21, 2021 Friend of the Arts: Since 2017, Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the arts by leveraging $250,000 to fund district-defining murals in partnership with various property owners and artists. Milwaukee’s Downtown has long been a place to enjoy public art, and for over a century, downtown has hosted Milwaukee’s largest collection of outdoor public art. Read more about Milwaukee Downtown BID #21’s commitment to the arts and the community HERE.
*Photo: 10th Annual Friends of the Arts recipient Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 represented by Beth Weirick (third from left) with (left to right) Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Nik Kovac and Alderman Michael Murphy at the Marcus Performing Arts Center*
Near West Side Partners, 2021 Friend of the Arts: Established in 2017, the Near West Side Partners Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between Near West Side communities, businesses, stakeholders, and diverse professional artists in Milwaukee. The initiative is creating spaces for diverse communities to engage socially, respond actively, and cooperatively produce art that empowers individuals. It also strengthens neighborhoods by activating under-utilized buildings and public spaces, which is working to establish the Near West Side as a key cultural center in Milwaukee.
*Photo: 10th Annual Friends of the Arts recipient Near West Side Partners represented by Keith Stanley (second from left) and Melissa Muller (third from left) with Alderman Nik Kovac and Alderman Michael Murphy at the Marcus Performing Arts Center*