The forthcoming Milwaukee Public Museum is seeking an Indigenous artist for an installation

“You Are Welcome, You Are Home”

The forthcoming Milwaukee Public Museum is seeking an Indigenous artist for an installation

An installation designed by an Indigenous artist will welcome visitors to the Future Museum. (Ennead Architects)

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a 200,000-square-foot building, inspired by rock formations and the confluence of the city’s rivers, will open its doors in 2027 as the home to the new Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM). In preparation, the Museum is seeking to hire an Indigenous artist to design and oversee an installation that honors Wisconsin’s First Nations.

Referred to as the Future Museum, the new Ennead Architects–designed building will be MPM’s third home in its 140-year-old history. Inside the five-story building there will be four exhibit floors, as well as a planetarium, an enclosed butterfly garden, and a community green space called “the Plaza,” to inspire visitors to explore the intersection between nature and culture.

The installation will be located within the outdoor plaza. Sited nearby to the primary entrance, inspired by Milwaukee’s three river convergences. It will live alongside native plants, a stormwater bioretention pond, observation deck, and outdoor classrooms.

The Museum is now taking project proposals that follow the theme of “You are welcome, you are home,” prompting a work of art that welcomes visitors and conveys a connection to the land. The selected artist will receive a $150,000 total budget to cover expenses like the artist fee, materials, transportation, construction, installation, and other project costs. According to the Request for Proposals, the final installation is expected to be no more than 12-foot in diameter and weighting in at 7,500 pounds.

The installation will be based on home structures from the Great Lakes signifying the past and present presence of Native people in the region. Proposals are expected to capture “the physical representation of traditional Indigenous dwelling with a modern twist,” the Request for Proposal stated. Forms of traditional dwellings may include flags or emblems of Tribal Nations, depictions of different languages, imagery representative of different clans, and designs affiliated with specific tribes like floral designs or sky domes. In an effort to not perpetuate stereotypes, proposals are asked to not be based on people or native imagery.

Installations are also expected to be interactive to bring some sort of community use. Examples of community uses may include featuring a fireplace available for tribal visits, a space for vegetation to grow, interactive art components, or seating on the installation.

Project proposals are due on April 15.  A subcommittee of the Museum’s Native American Advisory Committee will select the artist by May 3, based on their knowledge of Indigenous traditions, history and present culture; their response to the vision statement; and their status as an enrolled member of a Tribal Nation.

More information regarding proposal requirements and submission information is available at the MPM’s Indigenous Art Installation Request for Proposal page.