Milwaukee’s segregation can be seen in every community in the city, including the arts community. That is why the Milwaukee Repertory Theater is working to make art in the city accessible to all Milwaukeeans.
N’Jameh Camara is the associate director of engagement at the Rep and she says one of the places where disparities are quite clear is in which arts organizations receive funding.
“When you look at who has funding and who has already built up the patrons and the donors, we don’t yet have a performing arts center that has that amount of economical power that’s led by a person of color,” she says.
Camara says that bringing diversity to the arts is not just about who is on stage or in positions of power, but making sure different communities are accommodated in the Milwaukee Rep’s programming.
“There is a need for our programming to be translated into Spanish, we know that we’re downtown Milwaukee and we know that we’re right next to a population that needs that Spanish translation,” says Camara.
American Sign Language interpreting and closed captioning is another issue that Camara says need to be addressed in order for the Rep to be more accessible.
For Black History Month, The Rep is putting together four nights of livestreams, every Monday at 7 p.m. during February, as a part of “We Rise: MKE’s Celebration of Black History Month."
Rajendra Maharaj, an associate artistic producer at the Milwaukee Rep, helped put together the program. He says that it will honor the past, present and future of Black history.
“Again, using this Black History Month as an olive branch and also an opportunity to look at ourselves and our past history, our present and our future history and who we are and what we want to say to the world through our art,” says Maharaj.