Mural serves as start of street art movement

Posted at 7:58 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 10:56:22-04

A large mural is moving into Milwaukee's East Side, and its creators are hopeful it will have a positive impact on the community. 

Black Cat Alley is a group and a place in Milwaukee. To find it, look no further than the big frog on Farwell Ave.

"[Street art} really is now kind of a symbol of a happening city," explained Stacey Williams-Ng from Black Cat Alley. Williams-Ng said street art is a cross between graffiti tagging and gallery art.

So, the painting's on the wall and Milwaukee's in.

"It adds to the urban landscape," said Douglas Cheever, an East Side neighbor.

Williams-Ng said street art has the potential to make a great impact because of its accessibility.

"It's the kind of thing that everybody can relate to. It's free, it's up 24 hours a day and it's for everyone," she said.

She feels it's an opportunity for people to talk, but the artist himself won't join the conversation. He's a French artist that goes by the name MTO and prefers to remain anonymous. Williams-Ng said the art is a symbol for how he felt after the attacks on Bastille Day in Nice, France.

"He felt sort of like a frog out of place. Like a Frenchman out of place. So I think it's got a little tinge of sadness, but it just reads like a whimsical fun piece for everyone to enjoy," said Williams-Ng.

It's a conversation starter, and the start to an entire alley between Farwell and Prospect on Kenilworth dedicated to improving Milwaukee through art. 

"We're taking this place that was a liability and turning it into an asset," explained Williams-Ng. "Studies have shown actually reduces graffiti. We think we're going to get more art here that's unsolicited, but that's really a different category," she said.