Friday, May 9, 2008


Intellilink URL:

Artist statement

Artists Statement for service learning project


LAND or Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood development is a community organization that’s mission is “LAND is a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. Working in collaboration with residents, businesses, Partners, LAND furthers economic and community development”. Working on this project I encountered some problems and difficulties but was able to overcome them. The purpose of the service learning project was to engage UWM students in a diverse community, search through archives, take photographs and videos and create a media Blog site.


When I first began to think about LAND one of the first ideas was to do a project featuring LANDFare, but I wanted to do a project on how LAND got its message out into the public. Who heard about LANDFare, how they heard about it, what steps was LAND taking to ensure that everyone in the community was involved, what types and what amounts of advertisement went into making LANDFare a success. In the beginning I wanted to interview citizens on the street, I wanted a raw and real reaction, not some rehearsed, and forced reaction. I wanted to find out if it was really a memorable event, if people were going say “yes, I heard of it, it was great” or “no, never heard of it”, either way there was going to be some sort of reaction, positive or negative.
The purpose wasn’t to be rude or disrespectful, but to have a something real, not some “puff” assignment that was false, I wanted to illustrate that even though LAND does a lot to advertise and they do a very good job at it, they still need help and volunteers, and more community partners, more exposure. The purpose was to find who actually knew it happened and if they enjoyed it, that’s all. I traveled throughout the neighborhood at various times on various days to get a real look at the people and how the neighborhood dynamic flowed, and actually I received a very good response from people.
The response I received from the community was great. The response from the organization wasn’t so great. And finally, it seems every one else thought I was trying to make fun of, not take seriously, the organization, the neighborhood, and the people, which just isn’t true.


There were three distinct challenges to this project. The first challenge was the general lack of archival material pertaining to LANDFare at the LAND office.
The second challenge was the service learning component. And finally the third challenge was the misinterpretation of my project goals and aim.
The lack of archival information pertaining to LANDFare was the most limiting factor. I’m really not sure if it was because LANDFare wasn’t happening for another couple of months, or they just didn’t keep any of the materials. Also, as far as service learning for my project goes they weren’t having any meetings that pertained to LANDFare, and the lack of archival materials regarding LANDFare made it difficult to stay in the LAND office for more than a couple of hours. Service learning was an issue only because no one was sure how we were really supposed to document our hours
The misinterpretation of the project by LAND staff was very odd and discomforting for me, I had put a lot of thought into my project and how it was going to be done. I thought that the staff was going to have an idea that students were going to be filming media projects, and I also didn’t understand the climate of fear that surrounds that office. For me it was simple, you take people out of an element, the element of comfort and they would tell you what’s really on their mind, if they know an event is happening, if they care about the event. The most troubling thing for me was that the neighbors were fine with what I was doing, I interviewed countless people, and they didn’t have a problem with me, when I walked up to them they would just ask me if I was doing a school project. But for some reason the LAND staff was resistant to my abject relativism.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An article recently Published about LAND by theJournal sentinal, the difficulties in doing communtiy based work. Return to regular view
Original Story URL:
Roots growing, bit by bit
Walnut Hill boosts homeownership rate, works on development
Posted: May 5, 2007

If you're looking for a symbol of growth in Milwaukee's Walnut Hill neighborhood, try Muneer Bahauddeen's studio on N. 30th and W. Brown streets. The studio is called Ogbe Meji, meaning "bit by bit" in Yoruba, a language spoken in Nigeria. For Walnut Hill, bit by bit is about right.
The neighborhood hit rock-bottom in the late 1980s and early '90s, riddled with crime and blight. Since then, it has seen improvements, including new developments on North Ave. and an increase in homeownership. But progress has been slow, frustratingly so, say some residents.
Lisbon Ave., for example, was targeted for improvements under a 2004 plan created by Washington Park Partners. But three years later, the neighborhood's central artery looks largely the same. "The problem is, nothing has been significant enough to change the face of Lisbon Avenue beyond a few projects. . . . It has not materialized into something larger," said David Boucher, a longtime resident who owns Amaranth Bakery & Café on Lisbon. Invested in the hood Paul Martinka started working at Kehr's Candies on Lisbon Ave. in 1983, when businesses were still thriving. By the late '80s, crime had peaked and longtime residents had escaped. "One garage would get broken into and six for sales signs would go up," said Martinka, who now owns Kehr's. "People put their tails between their legs and ran at the first sign of trouble." By 1990, only 9% of residents owned their homes. Now, 55% do, according to the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee. Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity has built 115 homes in the neighborhood in the last decade, said executive director Sara Kierzek. The Hmong community is sinking roots deep in Walnut Hill. Fong Chang purchased a duplex on N. 34th St. in 1996 for $22,000. Over the years, his relatives have bought about a dozen homes nearby. They've rehabbed their properties, cleaned up trash and started a neighborhood watch. That, say residents, is the kind of thing that explains rising property values. Last year, Chang bought a duplex for his son and his son's wife, for $55,000. Big plan, lots of work The 2004 Washington Park plan envisioned improvements for Lisbon Ave. in part of Walnut Hill, but those haven't happened yet. "You wonder: Wait a second, what's happening here? Is there a plan? Well there is, but nobody's working the plan," said Damon Dorsey, a developer who was formerly executive director of the North Avenue Community Development Corp. Several community organizations and non-profit developers are part of Washington Park Partners. Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development is the lead agency, while national non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corp. is charged with generating capital. It has spent about $550,000 on the greater Washington Park area since 2003, as well as hundreds of thousands more in predevelopment financing and construction loans, said program director Leo Ries. Ries and others involved with Washington Park Partners acknowledge that Lisbon development has moved slowly. But they point to several accomplishments and future developments. Dorsey's firm, the Dorsey Group, is working with Commonwealth Development Corp. to develop 24 units of affordable housing on W. Lisbon Ave. from N. 28th to N. 33rd streets. Nearby, the vacant St. Thomas Aquinas Church at W. Brown and N. 35th streets is scheduled for conversion to a family resource center that will offer mental health services, tutoring and other after-school programs. Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development is working with for-profit developer City Ventures on a proposed eight- or nine-unit development on the northwest corner of W. Galena and N. 35th streets. "Neighborhood development is by its nature incremental. We're just building momentum," Ries said.

Urban pioneers

Meanwhile, longtime residents and businesses soldier on. Boucher has lived in his home, the refurbished Villa Uhrig, for 11 years, operates the café on Lisbon and publishes the Washington Park Beat newspaper. "It's a really wonderful community," Boucher said. "My choice to live here is very mindful." St. Francis Children's Center executive director Gerry Coon and his partner have lived in their home, the restored Koenig House on N. 32nd St., for nearly 19 years.
Coon spends weekends picking up bags full of trash on his block. Sometimes windows get broken. Summer nights can be riotously loud. But the two have no plans to leave. "The whole concept of being an urban pioneer was real appealing to me," Coon said. "Honestly, in the past three or four years, I haven't seen a whole of change. But ultimately, it's going to come back as more and more people care about it." Artist Bahauddeen calls Walnut Hill one of Milwaukee's "last frontiers."
During the week, he works with students from the nearby Westside Academy II on crafting ceramic tiles. He asks them what they see in their neighborhood. "Kids say, 'I see garbage, I see prostitutes,' some say, 'I see gangbangers,' " he said. "But what I want them to start seeing is potential."

© 2006, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. Produced by Journal Interactive Privacy PolicyJournal Sentinel Inc. is a subsidiary of Journal Communications.

Diabetes is a serious issue and one that LAND focused on in its's 2007 LANDFare, Community Health is a very important topic, and one that is being addressed. At LAND they have partnerships that bring awareness of health issues, that may be forgotten in the daily grind of life. Eating right and healthy living programs were provided during this years LANDFare, the 11th year anniversery.

The neighborhood, This is LAND's primary service area, though they do encourage all of Milwaukee to participate, with numerous advertisements and radio spots.

The commitment of the City of Milwuakee is important to community based organizations like LAND, Without the City's involvement, none of the outreach could happen, this proclamation for me is very empowering, it shows how commited Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee is in the restortion of the community and the revitalization that needs to happen to make Milwaukee a fully functional city.

LANDFare Flyer.

This Flyer for me illustrates what LANDFare is all about, the children are the future of the community, and family is the cornerstone of any community, it encapsulates the meaning of neighborhood and community. LANDFare now that I begin to think of it has to be a wonderful and fun event, With over three thousnad flyers printed and a seven- thousand person turnout, LAND is a symbol of how far a community can stretch, and in my conversations with Toni Anderson the whole Milwaukee area is actually encouraged to go out and enjoy LANDFare. I think other community based organizations shouldbegin outreach to their communities in events similar to LANDFare.