A Year in the Valley:
Witnessing Menomonee Valley Revitalization
As followers of this blog know, I served as the 2014 Menomonee Valley Artist in Residence. During that time I created two small books. One, entitled Gestures, is a photo essay that explores the visual vocabulary of the Valley in intimate detail. It is a slim, meditative volume.
The second, also slim, serves as a portfolio of images from the year. Titled simply 2014 Menomonee Valley Artist in Residence, it’s basically a sampling of highlights from a year of photographing in the Valley.
However, my newest book, entitled A Year in the Valley: Witnessing Menomonee Valley Revitalization, is a comprehensive compilation of the work done during the residency period (January through December, 2014). In addition to an expansive selection of images, this book includes the text of most of the essays, stories and profiles that I wrote during the year. These were originally published on my blogs.
A Year in the Valley also represents in book form what I’ve posted on the website created specifically for the Menomonee Valley project.
Project goals included documenting physical transformation in the Menomonee Valley, promoting public awareness of this nationally renowned redevelopment model, fostering connections amongst the diverse communities who work and recreate in the Valley, and highlighting the importance of art and culture in carrying out future developments as well as developing a sense of place.
The history of the Menomonee Valley is one of continual transformation. The original environment, a fertile wild rice marsh, was completely filled as the Valley became Milwaukee’s industrial powerhouse. By the late twentieth century most of the industries had moved out, leaving a legacy of blight and pollution. The last 15 years have seen a concerted effort by the city, business interests and environmental advocates to revitalize the Valley. Visionary plans are underway that combine economic and community development with environmental restoration. Businesses have returned, the river has been rehabilitated and new parks have been created, along with new opportunities for arts, culture and recreation.
This project and this book captures a 12-month slice of the ongoing story of the transformation of the Menomonee Valley.
The 2014 Artist in Residency was sponsored my Menomonee Valley Partners and Zimmerman Architectural Studios.
To go to the Menomonee Valley AiR website, click here.