Bronzeville Center for the Arts hires Milwaukee architectural firm

Milwaukee’s proposed Bronzeville Center for the Arts, which would create a large Black arts and cultural destination, has hired the project’s architect.

M&E Architects+Engineers will be the lead architect for the 50,000-square-foot facility to be built at 2300 N. King Drive − site of a former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources office that will be razed.

“BCA exists to increase our collective knowledge and engagement with African American art, arthistory and artists,” said Kristen Hardy, a Milwaukee attorney and the nonprofit group’s board president.

“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,” Hardy said, in a statement.The center will feature exhibitions, education and immersive artistic programming.

M&E Architects+Engineers has worked on projects such as the Sojourner Family Peace Center and Fiserv Forum.

“This is an incredible opportunity to help define the look and feel of an institution that will represent the African American arts community for generations,” said Isaac Menyoli, M&E president.

“Coupled with an array of development projects underground 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,” Menyoli said, in a statement.

HGA will partner with M&E to provide design and technical support. HGA’s team will include Design Principal Peter Cook, who was a lead design collaborator on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Terri Howard, HGA’s Director of Equity.

HGA will also provide mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural engineering, assisted by black-owned Milwaukee-based Zoe Engineering LLC and M&E.

Other local partners include Saiki Design for landscape design and K. Singh on civil engineering. Schuler Shook is the theater consultant with SM&W on acoustics.

Emem Group rounds out the team, serving as the owner’s representative for the project.

Bronzeville Center for the Arts bought the 3.4-acre project state from the state in 2022 for $1.6 million.

The nonprofit group will finalize its building and programming plans, with input from the community, in the coming months before launching a fundraising campaign. A construction timeline could be firmed up later this year

Meanwhile, the center’s 507 Gallery project is under construction and to be completed this fall. That 4,300-square-foot gallery, workshop and office will be at 507 W. North Ave.

“The BCA’s destination arts museum will be an incredible addition to a revitalized Bronzeville,” said Ald. Milele A. Coggs, whose district includes the neighborhood.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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