The Harmony Initiative is a collaboration of the Milwaukee Ballet Company, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The group is working on plans to develop a 90,000-square-foot building at the site of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts parking structure, located northwest of North Water Street and East State Street.
The facility would provide space for the Ballet Company's offices; studios for the Ballet and its school, a small performance center with about 300 to 400 seats for small dance performances and a sports medicine clinic for the Ballet and the general public.
According to Dennis Buehler, executive director of the Milwaukee Ballet, the grant will help underwrite the next phase of the project which is the schematic design. The Harmony Initiative has selected La Dallman Inc., as its architectural firm.
"Receiving the grant money for this initiative is great, but the recognition from the National Endowment of the Arts is just as important," Buehler said. "It recognizes our vision for downtown Milwaukee."
The grants were designed to recognize how cities and towns are using the arts to shape their social, physical and economic characters. The National Endowment for the Arts recieved 317 applications for the grants.
"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts — both literally and figuratively — into the center of them," said Rocco Landesman NEA chairman. "From Teller, Alaska, to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders."
The grantee projects improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All of the 'Our Town' grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity.
"It's an exciting time for evolution and exploration in the creative peacemaking field, and I'm certain this year's Our Town grants will bear fruit for their communities and lessons for the field as a whole," said Jason Schupbach, NEA Director of Design.