Friday, May 9, 2008


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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
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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.

The second location for LAND, sold to LAND for a dollar, LAND is growing and required a larger facility to facilitate community action. For a modest membership fee members can rent tools and buy home renovation items at lower cost than large stores, it allows people the ability to make improvements to their properties, and really show pride in their neighborhood. This is where the action takes place, you might miss it if your not looking.

My First Exposure to LANDFare.

This Advertisement is the catalyst for my project, LAND's approach to communtiy involvement is very innovative and collaboration with partners like the City of Milwaukee, Helen Bader foundation, Harley Davidson, State farm insurance, UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public theatre, Meharry state farm alliance, The Boy's and Girl's club, Hank Aaron state Trail, safe kids, and others are helping to make LANDFare a positive and productive event.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

St. Andrews Church

St. Andrews Church- A wellspring of hope for the youth of the Lisbon Avenue Community. Community Garden located south of St. Andrews promotes a vision of urban Beauty and inspiration, of what a community can evolve to. The most important part of a community is it’s people, their talent and skills; through hard work and dedication streets can evolve to community. One of the most overlooked resources of a community or group of streets is children, if within them you can cultivate, idealism, respect, pride in the community, work ethic and dedication, they will cultivate and grow a real community. Though often than not, things happen, people move, that sense of commitment will remain, and we will be better for it, as a people, as Americans. St. Andrews church offers many things for the young, most of which is long lasting stability, Care, and loving, respectful guidance. By participating in L.A.N.D, the church is ensuring that the needs of the community and the kids is being satisfied, ensuring a safer future for this evolving community.

Monday, February 4, 2008


LAND does a wide array of things for the community;
-Building Supplies: Solicits donations of new building materials and then distributes them to Milwaukee homeowners.
-Tool Rental: A low cost tool loan program for City of Milwaukee residents.
-Economic Development: Markets North Avenue, Vliet Street and Lisbon Avenue to potential businesses, in order to bring back services and jobs to our community. An equity loan fund designed to provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs locating on Vliet Street.
-Neighborhood Leadership Development: Neighborhood leaders learn skills to take charge of their community and make a positive difference. Residents form committees to identify issues, monitor the resolution of problems and inform others.
-Neighborhood Safety: Crime reduction by eliminating trouble spots.
-Resident Building Inspection: Volunteer resident inspectors identify properties with code violations and assist in satisfactory resolution. Also offers Homeowner Fairs and Tenant Rights and Responsibility workshops.
-Youth Action Council: Provides leadership training and education for neighborhood youth as they work on issues important to them.
-Home Buying Counseling: A program to provide all necessary information for first time buyers and home owners at risk of foreclosure. This program began in September of 1997.