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For the past three years, I’ve been tracking the ambitious plans to establish the Bronzeville Center for the Arts (BCA) at North Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive in the central city. The project, aiming to raise $55 million for construction, has faced a series of starts and stops. Progress has been intermittent.

Currently, the project is still in the planning phase. The proposed facility promises to feature a gallery showcasing Black art from Milwaukee and beyond, a versatile program space for youth activities, an artist-in-residence initiative, and areas for events and educational purposes. Leaders hope the BCA will serve as a community hub for Bronzeville residents and attract visitors from across the state and nation.

The vision of the BCA, as articulated on its website, is to “elevate the human capacity for creativity and knowledge, expand Bronzeville’s legacy as a vibrant artistic hub of the Midwest, and make art of the African diaspora a central focus in the cultural consciousness of present and future generations.” Through the new museum, the BCA aims to enhance Bronzeville’s reputation as a dynamic artistic center and ensure art from the African diaspora is accessible to all.

The project’s first milestone has been achieved with the recent opening of Gallery 507, a small yet impactful space located at 507 West North Avenue, near the future site of the BCA Museum.