City pilots program to transform foreclosed homes into havens for artists

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jun 15, 2017

MILWAUKEE, WI - A new housing program in Milwaukee could soon turn dilapidated foreclosed homes into beautiful hubs for artwork.

The Art and Resource Community Hub (ARCH) loan program is still in its infancy, but the goal is to take city-owned foreclosed homes and turn them into artists’ oases starting with the Bronzeville and Walnut Hill neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee. 

“I’ve always seen this as artisans row," said Muneer Bahauddeen.

An artisan's row that could soon be inhabited by even more artists. Muneer Bahaddeen is an artist who lives on W. Lisbon in Milwaukee's Walnut Hill neighborhood. His home functions as his art studio and his hope is to see more artist occupy homes near his.

“Having art in a community that needs healing would be just a wonderful concept," Bahaddeen said.

Alderman Russell Stamper agrees, and that’s why he’s helped roll out the ARCH loan program in his district.

“What we’re doing is turning these foreclosed homes that we have on the market into creative spaces for artists," Stamper said.

According to Stamper, the program is based on a $25,000 match. The city puts up $25,000 and the artist interested in purchasing the home must match that amount and work to rehab the house and turn it into a living working art studio to create stability in a community that Bahauddeen said could use more of it.

“Stability brings about the encouragement of people investing in themselves," Bahauddeen said.

"Which then brings about economic development," he continued.

According to Stamper, the ARCH loan program has already passed in the committee and will go before the entire Common Council June 20.