MAM’s The Word

MAM’s THE WORD is a newsletter produced by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Teen Advisory Council for teens who want to learn more about the arts in Milwaukee and be engaged with thoughts and ideas. It features our own creative work, opinions, and responses to the Museum, our community, and our world.

NOVEMBER 2016 – Fall Edition, Issue #1

MAM’s THE WORD is a newsletter produced by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Teen Advisory Council for teens who want to learn more about the arts in Milwaukee and be engaged with thoughts and ideas. It features our own creative work, opinions, and responses to the Museum, our community, and our world.

By Suvanmalee praseutsack & Margaret french

Check out this video for our suggested pairing of Brad Kalmer’s painting, 46 degrees USA, and The Black Lips song, Again and Again!

By Sarai Van Leer and Renée Marfitt

A Pop of Culture

The lakou

Walking into the Haitian exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum is a new experience each time you enter. Rich with culture and heritage, the exhibition gives a much-needed breath of fresh air and adds zest to a tour of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Filled with works made using various art techniques, the exhibition flows in a continuous rhythm, with captivating artwork that leads to the next artwork effortlessly. Yet, what makes the exhibition is not only the display of vibrant colors and the embracement of Haiti’s heritage, but the lakou. The lakou is considered the communal center of life in Haiti. It functions as a place of religious celebrations, births, deaths, and Vodou, and where markets set up to sell their goods. In the lakou at the Milwaukee Art Museum there are musical instruments inside the benches; they allow visitors to fully experience the daily atmosphere of Haiti. When we entered the Haitian exhibition, the first thing that stood out were the vibrant colors that were displayed on every surface. As we walked around the gallery, we also noticed the great variety of not only artist styles but content. We found subject matters ranging from religious to political to various Haitian traditions. There were people playing drums, really adding to the cultural feeling in the gallery. We sat down and played with some other Museum dwellers.

Below are three art pieces we have chosen that display Haiti’s spirit, culture, and heritage.


The first piece we chose is called Flower Carnival by Rigaud Benoit, 1973. This painting displays the welcoming of spring and the corruption of the Haitian government. The use of cool and calming colors sucked us in along with the intricate details of the flowers and elaborative outfits of the animals. The painting is festive enough to make you feel as if you were participating in the Flower Carnival.


The next painting is called Ezili and Her Earthly Court by Hector Hyppolite, 1946. This painting demonstrates the fertility, beauty, and nobleness of women. We liked this piece because it highlights how important women are in society and the continuance of the human population. We liked how simple and easygoing the piece is. It is not too bright and has less detail than the other two pieces we have chosen.


The third painting we chose is called Communal Fieldworkers by Gerard Valcin, 1971. We were taken in by this painting because of the immense amount of detail and repetition of the crops. It also demonstrates the agricultural aspect of Haitian culture.

All in all, we really enjoyed this gallery. The Haitian exhibition is a great place to visit if you are interested in West African culture. We highly recommend it!

Podcast By Jack west & Montaser AbdulJalil


Our first opinion piece conversation takes on the concept of form versus function: what takes precedence in which situations?? We will blend conversation and goofy rhetoric into a stew of ideas as we discuss form and function as they apply to things like cars, furniture, and art! We’ll toss around ideas about the ‘59 Cadillac El Dorado, modern furniture in the Museum’s galleries, paintings like Andy Warhol’s Marilyn, and much. Much. More. Have a listen…

Form versus Function

By Joicelyn brenson & tyree anderson


Our city, Milwaukee. We have two seasons here, construction season and winter, but there are tons of events that coincide with what we all like to do. Many people enjoy music and seeing new bands, or enjoy finding new places to shop by exploring booths at festivals. But many times, events that might interest us go right under our noses. We don’t hear about them or occur without our ever knowing they exist. With MAM’s the Word we plan to change that; we will write about not commonly known events and let you vicariously experience them.


We recently attended an event at Kern Center (MSOE) called Empty Bowls. While it may not have been my (Tyree) first time attending this event, it was Joicelyn’s first time. Empty Bowls is an event that connects with schools in the Milwaukee area and teaches people how to make ceramic pieces, which are then sold to fund raise for saids schools. They also bring in local cooks and restaurants that do not profit from serving soup but help combat hunger.

The Empty Bowls originated in New York, but then had events in several other cities. Out of all the participating places that engage in the Empty Bowls fundraising event, Milwaukee has the most successful outcome. People from all over the state travel to Milwaukee city to purchase these unique bowls. With the donation you have made from buying the bowl, you receive two tickets that allow you to get a free sample of soup from a local business. Once you purchase your handmade bowl, you go to a station where volunteers wash it. After the bowl is nice and clean, you enter the upstairs where energetic businesses are waiting for you.


As soon as you hit the door, you’re greeted with warm smiles. The atmosphere is welcoming and happy. The aroma of soups diffuse around the room. You’re welcomed by local businesses that have set up booths full of useful information. While Tyree was being a helpful volunteer, I (Joicelyn) talked to the local farmers market of Milwaukee, and the Central City Churches Incorporation. They were along with many other local businesses there waiting to spread information to their community. Not only does Empty Bowls spread light onto this amazing charity, they also encourage you to learn about local business in your city.

After I walked around and learned about local businesses, I decided it was time to get my hands on a warm bowl of soup. The perimeter of the room is lined up with restaurants eagerly waiting for you to try their soup. I visited the Comet Cafe where I tried a satisfying bean chili. Most business have a partnership with Empty Bowls and participate in the event every year. Although they do not make any money from serving soup, they do get to advertise their business.


Even though the soup is good, the entertainment is even better. After I got my bowl, I took a seat in the front of the room. The chairs were aligned in a semicircle, where a group of high school students were performing. They were all singing in a harmonious tone. If you have little ones with you and they’re not into music, they are allowed to color. There’s a booth called Kid’s Zone, where children are given a piece of paper with a bowl on it. They are free to color and customize the bowl in any way they want too. Empty Bowl’s really has something for everyone.

When my bowl was finished I headed back downstairs. Volunteers kindly wash your bowl for you again, and wrap it neatly for you. Empty Bowls was a very successful event. They made 900 bowls this year ready for people to buy. All of the profits go to charity. Not only do you get to support a good cause, you also get to learn more about what’s really in your city. Empty Bowls is a perfect example of how our city can come together and really stand for something.


Original artwork By Josiah grabber & sheyenne wilson

In the Open Mic section, we create original pieces on a theme, and tie them into pieces on view in the Museum. This month’s theme: SELF-LOVE

Josiah Grabber:

In the Museum’s ollection Galleries, Reflex Arc by Kay Sage depicts a surreal scene with a message which must be pondered by the viewer. Her use of red in the piece creates a sense of diversity when contrasted to the cooler colors which make up the bulk of the painting. Similarly, the pieces that I created do not pose an immediate connection to their subject matter, but work in a symbolic fashion akin to a surrealistic style. Also, my choice of color usage is similar to Sage’s in that it is used to broaden the scope of the image’s content. Overall, Reflex Arc exhibits a style and a mood which relates to the pieces I created.


Sheyenne Wilson:

My piece is about my distinct perspectives on how I feel at the moment. It embodies two different personas that create internal conflict. The color white represents my apathy toward the world’s opinions, and yellow represents me actually caring about everyone’s opinion and accepting it as the truth. The one painting I picked that I felt related to the piece is Andrew Wyeth’s Afternoon. I felt what had correlation was the white/yellow reflected off the emotions in my piece, and in the painting, she looks almost conflicted as well, or maybe even lost.


By Marcelo Quesada & Thomas Krajna



Teen Advisory Council: Jack West, Joicelyn Brenson, Josiah Grabber, Marcelo Quesada, Margaret French, Renée Marfitt, Sarai Van Leer, Sheyenne Wilson, Thomas Krajna, Montaser Abduljalil, Suvanmalee Praseutsack and Tyree Anderson. Museum Educator: Helene Fischman Teaching Assistant: Donyae Johnson

Milwaukee Art Museum high school internships are supported by the Milwaukee Public Schools Partnership for the Arts and Humanities; the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund; and the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. For more information, visit