The Bronzeville Center for the Arts development in Milwaukee unveiled a diverse project team that will include minority-owned local firm M&E Architects+Engineers and owner’s representative Emem Group.
Selection of those key players for the 50,000-square-foot development was announced Tuesday, and marks another step forward in the planning process. The center focused on African American artworks will replace the former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offices at North Avenue and North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
M&E Architects, the lead architecture firm, was established in 1989 in Milwaukee and has worked on projects including Sojourner Family Peace Center and Fiserv Forum. The firm has extensive experience designing schools, medical clinics and housing.
“Coupled with an array of development projects underway in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood, this project will be both a tribute to the rich history of the neighborhood and an investment in its future,” said firm president Isaac Menyoli.
M&E Architects will work with larger Milwaukee design firm HGA, which will provide design and technical support, according to a Tuesday press release.
“As a Black-led firm with deep roots in our community, M&E Architects+Engineers shares our vision and is the right partner to help us bring it to life,” said Kristen Hardy, a Milwaukee attorney and president of the Bronzeville Center for the Arts organization’s board.
The arts center’s final design will be based on input from the surrounding community, a process that is to start in the coming weeks. Uses for the building could include exhibition spaces, forums for lectures and other educational programs, live performance spaces and workshops for hands-on arts classes.
Milwaukee-based Emem Group, founded in 2014 by Michael Emem, will serve as the owner’s representative on the center. Emem is also a consultant for the Milwaukee Public Museum’s development of a new home near Bronzeville, and a co-developer on a $32.2 million redevelopment on King Drive that includes affordable apartments and a new public library branch.
Other companies working on the project include Black-owned firm Zoe Engineering LLC, fire-protection contractor Oneida Total Integrated Enterprises, which is owned by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, landscape designer Saiki Design and civil engineer K. Singh & Associates Inc.