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WUWM's Susan Bence reports on Wisconsin environmental issues.

Photos: New Mural Welcomes Visitors Into Milwaukee’s Harbor District

Many people have not ventured into the harbor district, just south of downtown in the Walker's Point neighborhood.  The City of Milwaukee wants to change that. 

UWM’S School of Freshwater Sciences’ expanded facility where Greenfield Ave. meets the harbor was a first step.  Next came Freshwater Plaza at 1st and Greenfield with apartments and a grocery store. Now artist Nova Czarnecki’s mural is transforming the face of the old railroad bridge between the two.

Harbor District Inc.commissioned the project.

Credit Nova Czarnecki

It features native fish and birds. A sturgeon seems to burst through the corner of the structure. Birds pop out of holes and through letters spelling Harbor District.

“The holes in the concrete represent nature bursting through the damage that’s been caused, all the pollution,” the artist says.

An image of a young girl, on the north wall, looks on at the life around her.   Czarnecki’s model was her friend’s 8-year-old daughter.

“She represents the future the hope in future generation that is going to turn that around and clean it up,” she says.

Credit Nova Czarnecki

Czarnecki began work in early September working long days. But first a team power washed the walls and her husband did some concrete repair to provide the artist with smoother surfaces.

The project was particularly meaningful to Czarnecki. She grew up nearby on 7th and Greenfield.

“I used to walk down this way when I was a teenager and walked to the end of the river….. It was just very dirty,” Czarnecki added, “It’s nice that it’s changing. It’s really changing.”

Credit Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio
Milwaukee Public Radio
Nearly complete mural.

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Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.