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Gathering Art, Stories and Place

Gathering Art, Stories and Place

The City of Milwaukee has been selected as a recipient of a grant of $150,000 from the National Endowment of the Art (NEA) to fund the Gathering Art, Stories and Place (GASP) at the Mitchell Street Branch (906 W. Historic Mitchell St.). Led by Milwaukee Public Library and Artists Working in Education, the project is supported by Ex Fabula as well as other nonprofits, schools and community centers. 

With this grant, the project team will utilize the library's maker space and other indoor and outdoor gathering spaces to host a variety of storytelling-themed programs, including a visual storytelling festival featuring deaf storytellers, an artist lecture series, writing workshops, a new archive of collected neighborhood stories, and two artist-in-residence programs. A mobile art studio accessible to youth is also planned, providing free art education and cultural enrichment activities.

The plans, developed in partnership with the Department of City Development and the Milwaukee Arts Board, create a unique hub for creative expression and cultural discourse will empower neighbors to create, share, and celebrate cultural diversity through storytelling and art. 

This project is in collaboration with community partners, Milwaukee Public Library, Listening to Mitchell artists Sonja Thomsen and Adam Carr, Ex Fabula and Artists Working in Education, Inc. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts, with additional support from the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation.



Deaf StorySlam - True Stories About Labels: Misconceptions, Rejecting Stigmas. and Identity

Sunday, September 22
1-5 p.m. - Doors open at 1 p.m. | Stories begin at 2 p.m.
Mitchell Street Branch
906 W. Historic Mitchell Street

This event is free and open to the public but space is limited; please RSVP at

Milwaukee’s Deaf community will gather to share stories during Deaf Awareness Week! Ex Fabula tellers use the theme ‘Labels’ to share stories about misconceptions, rejecting stigmas and identity. Ex Fabula is entering Season 11 with this noncompetitive curated StorySlam at Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell Street Branch located on Milwaukee’s Historic Mitchell Street; doors open at 1 p.m., stories begin at 2 p.m.

This curated StorySlam is presented as part of the Milwaukee Public Library’s Gathering Art, Stories and Place project. For Milwaukee’s first Deaf StorySlam, Deaf community members Mayra Castrejón-Hernandez and Jose Barraza were trained to become Ex Fabula Storytelling coaches, as well as take part in organizing the event.

The theme ‘Labels’ explores the many misconceptions and stigmas the Deaf community faces. “We are the Deaf and hard of hearing community of Milwaukee. We hide because no else recognizes us. We want to tell our stories at this StorySlam” says Mayra Castrejón-Hernandez. Professional interpretation from ASL into spoken English will allow the full community to enjoy this experience. *spoken Spanish interpretation available upon request. 

Talking Shop: Launching Your Artist Book

Gathering Art Stories and Place is excited to host this three-part series at the Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell Street Branch. Artist-in-Residence Celeste Contreras has been focusing on artist books this year, so we are kicking off fall by diving into what artist books are, where they live in our libraries, as well as highlighting established artist book makers and encouraging anyone new to the field to get critical feedback to launch their books!

All programs will be held at Mitchell Street Branch -
906 W. Historic Mitchell St.

Artist Books in Our Libraries
Wednesday, September 4, 6-7:30 p.m.

Join us for a panel discussion to learn about the artist and rare book collections that are living right under our noses! We’ll hear from the librarians who create and manage amazing collections both locally and regionally. How do collections get created? Where do they find the books? How do artists get their books in these collections? How does the public get access to these books? We’ll answer these questions and many more!


Mitchell Street Artist Book Fair
Wednesday, September 25, 2-7:30 p.m.

We’re excited to host regional artists who have dedicated much of their practice to making artist books, zines, photo books and ephemera. The Mitchell Street Artist Book Fair will showcase diverse directions in bookmaking and connect artists with each other and the Milwaukee community. Greet your favorite artist bookmaker or meet a new one! We are starting early to encourage teachers to bring their students.

We will feature work from:


Review & Launch Your Artist Book
Wednesday, October 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Register by calling 414.286.3011 or online

Have you created an artist book? Need feedback on a book dummy? Self-published books, zines, one-of-a-kind works... all are fair game for review. Register now for (at least) two one-on-one, 20-minute sessions with a book arts professional.

Confirmed Reviewers:



Ofrendas de Mitchell

All programs will be held at Mitchell Street Branch -
906 W. Historic Mitchell St.*

Join Artist-in-Residence Celeste Contreras for hands-on arts workshops leading up to a traditional celebration of Día de Muertos.

*Artist-in-Residence Celeste Contreras will also be a featured artist at the Milwaukee Art Museum for Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays: Día de los Muertos event on Sunday, October 13, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Wednesday, October 16 4-6 p.m.
Screen Printing Workshop

Bring T-shirts or other cloth items to print!

Wednesday, October 23 4-6 p.m.
Ofrenda Workshop with First Stage and Mole Tamale Workshop

Receive a complimentary ticket to their production of On the Wings of a Mariposa running October 18 thru November 10. Mole Tamale Workshop led by Community Kitchen Coordinator Sam Alioto in the Cargill Community Kitchen.

Wednesday, October 30 4-7 p.m. (procession at 6 p.m.)
Día de Muertos Celebration and Procession

A live offering to our ancestors by México Indígena and world class Flautist, Ramiro Duarte. Milwaukee Art Museum presents Kohl’s Color Wheels will host a fun art activity. Face-painting, music and more!