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New plaza and art installation unveiled on Milwaukee's south side

"We want people taking pride and ownership of their community"
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Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 19:50:04-04

MILWAUKEE — The Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative unveiled its latest art installation and a place for people to gather along Cesar Chavez Drive Thursday afternoon.

For locals like Maya Passarelli, the event took her back to her roots in Mexico, seeing the community gather in a plaza to socialize.

"This really brings back a lot of memories. I was raised here, but you know going back vacationing to Mexico, family, and friends, this is really what it's about," said Passarelli.

The Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative has curated most of the art along Cesar Chavez Drive. Their latest installation is what they are calling La Placita, which translates to the plaza.

"So if you travel to any Spanish-speaking country, there is always a center point where you have municipal buildings and then at the center is where people gather," said Patricia Najera, the executive director of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative.

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Now you can find something similar in front of the El Rey grocery store on Cesar Chavez Drive. La Placita is aimed to be a new place to bring the community together. The plaza also features an art installation called the Thunderbird.

"The symbolism of the Thunderbird eagle is one of hope and one of strength," said Najera.

The Thunderbird was put together by locals in the neighborhood.

"We want people taking pride and ownership of their community," said Najera

Among the art, you'll find an homage to all who fought for better labor conditions. Inscribed on each tile of the Thunderbird are words of inspiration from locals showing their gratitude to the National Farm Workers Association.

"This is the symbolism that people know, that there was a group of people that we're fighting for their cause," said Najera.

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