Fueling Greater Milwaukee’s Creatives: Empowering Community
Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN), a non-profit organization, strengthens the local community and economy by improving the lives of artists and increasing the public’s understanding of the value of art. MARN is a significant voice for artists in the local community. Through inspiring and engaging programming, MARN connects professional and emerging artists to resources, support and art appreciators.
MARN strives to be the leader in supporting artists and strengthening our local art economy. We will improve artist visibility and marketability by connecting artists to each other, to arts groups, and to businesses. MARN will assist artists in building sustainable careers and advocate for them to enhance our regional culture, making our area a hub for artistic development and appreciation.
At the beginning, MARN operated as a “grass-roots” non-profit with a volunteer board and, shortly after, a part-time Executive Director. MARN become an essential voice of Milwaukee’s visual arts scene with an on-line listserv that quickly became a core source of information sharing amongst artists. This listserv is still a major resource of the organization today. Professional development workshops were offered in a variety of subjects around the entrepreneurial business concerns of art practice. MARN functioned as a mobile organization that held its programming at a variety of local arts institutions throughout the city.
In 2004, MARNmentors was initiated which continues as one of MARN’s cornerstone programs. 2009 brought the addition of a full-time Executive Director as well as the pilot year of MARNsalons and expansion of the organization to include a wider variety of arts disciplines beyond the visual arts. 2010 brought the creation of MARNmic Night and MARNstages and the realization of a 10-year goal for a centralized gallery and workshop space located on Vliet Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood. In 2011, MARN launched Writer’s Wednesday and MARNmovies and the staff was increased with two part-time employees in outreach and marketing. 2012 led to the elimination of the Executive Director position and a reduction in programming due to budget constraints. MARN was a key supporter of the Center Street Fire Relief efforts in 2012.
In 2013, MARN moved its headquarters to the Marshall Building in the Third Ward in collaboration with Plaid Tuba. MARN offered its first professional development workshop intensive with the nationally recognized granting organization Creative Capital. Staff has been reduced to a part-time operations director, some programming has been suspended and a strategic planning and organizational development process commenced with support from the Nonprofit Management Fund.
MARN is in a pivotal development process, surveying its membership and advisors, programs and priorities for increasing responsiveness to the creative community.