Bike Fed Employee Reaches Milwaukee Residents Through Art
Angie Livermore has been serving as a Safe Routes Instructor in Milwaukee for the past 15 years.
On March 15th, a City of Milwaukee press release formally announced the launch of its first ever Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) pilot program. The program’s theme for 2023 is built around Reckless Driving, with public art serving as an intervention to reframe issues around automotive violence. In addition to the position of Artist In Residence, the City also chose a PAIR Liaison to act as an intermediary between the Department of Public Works, Department of City Development, community, and the artist. Excitingly, the PAIR Liaison is none other than the Bike Fed’s own Angie Livermore who has been serving as a Safe Routes Instructor in Milwaukee for the past 15 years! She is a League of American Cyclists Certified Instructor who has educated over 4,000 youth on bikes and continues her role getting more people out on two wheels.
Angie, a practicing artist herself, is incredibly excited about this project and collaborating with the Artist in Residence. She is a recent Dean’s List graduate of UWM where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a focus in print and narrative form, a Certificate in Community Art, and a Minor in Geography. Livermore was drawn to the PAIR program because it is approaching the prescient issue of Reckless Driving that she has been involved with for years. The arts approach of combining public art and advocacy really spoke to her. She believes that many approaches to reckless driving have been focused on anger or blame. “The research we’ve been doing shows it’s a lot more than that. Our art strategies to change it will be non-punitive.” Acting as a bridge for art concepts between DPW and the artist, Angie will help tailor art pieces to specific neighborhoods.
According to the Press Release “The PAIR program residency will take place over a minimum of one year, beginning with a three-month research phase where the artist will shadow City of Milwaukee staff and learn about operations and initiatives. After the research phase, the artist will spend three months prototyping and field testing their project, followed by a five-month implementation and evaluation period. This program will also facilitate cross-sector collaboration with Milwaukee’s various BIDs, NIDs, and partner organizations to carry out new artist-driven efforts. The PAIR program is coordinated through the Department of City Development (DCD).”
Angie’s work with the Wisconsin Bike Fed makes her an ideal person to help launch this program with real world engagement experience in communities across the city. Some of her art-based work at the Bike Fed includes using mud stencils which she describes as “a really easy way that any individual can do a non-permitted and free action.” Additionally she has collaborated with Ammar Nsoroma on intersection murals at Hopkins Lloyd Community School through Artists Working in Education. In 2021 she also worked with Lincoln Avenue Community School on two different Reckless Driving Mini-Grants provided by the DPW, one a printmaking workshop with Team Nerd Letterpress as well as a sidewalk mural linking the school to the Kinnickinnic River Trail. She said “Printmaking can directly tie into advocacy because of the affordability of material and ability to print a lot at once.” She would like to see her own art practice move into the public realm of research and advocacy moving forward. Her position as liaison will inform her art practice going forward. “While I’m not making the artistic decisions, working with the city on a civic level centered around art is exciting to me.”
Angie hopes that the PAIR program is repeated and grows in future years. She believes that through the evaluation of the program the city will have a lot of resources and research to help future artists and liaisons. In the end all of the work will belong to the city. Some of the work created could also have a life after and be expanded upon by other organizations. If it is successful it could grow into a 2-year cycle or even be replicated at the state level. While the timeline doesn’t allow any permanent infrastructure changes it will be interesting to see how this type of work impacts the issue of reckless driving.
Angie would like to share that “So far the support from the Department of Public Works and Department of City Development has been incredible and I think the program is set up for success by all of the time they have worked for this to happen. I am grateful to the Milwaukee Arts Board for this funding so that this could happen.”
Stay tuned for updates on the PAIR program, Angie’s experiences as the program moves into its next phases, and the works ultimately created by the talented Artist in Residence, Sarah Davitt.