Milwaukee Teens Do Anti-ICE Art, Freak Out The Squares
Photos: Milwaukee Art Museum TEENS on Instagram

A Milwaukee Art Museum program for artsy young folks puts art into motion every summer by letting the kids design a mural wrap applied to a bus, or sometimes to a bus shelter. This year, the kids decided to do some current events, and designed a wraparound mural depicting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers separating kids from their families, as well as a multi-ethnic we're (almost) all immigrants here message for the back of the bus.

The art pissed off a member of the county board of supervisors, who declared it to be anti-police (sure, though just one federal agency) and "racist," so the kids did a fine job of triggering the cons. Even better, the art museum, which paid the Milwaukee County Transit System for the bus wrap like any other advertiser, backs the kids completely and says it supports the young artists' decision to make art that's meaningful to them.

Let's art!

On the boarding side of the bus, a street scene shows ICE agents arresting a mother and child (along Milwaukee's East Wisconsin Avenue). The mother and child reach futilely for each other, while a dude in a hardhat (complete with "UNION" sticker, yes!) holds a stop sign spray-painted to say "STOP ICE." So not only are these young hooligans encouraging illegal immigration and hatred of cops, they're also advocating vandalism. Worse, check that background: It's photorealism with intent to persuade.

The other side of the bus features a child's hand reaching for an adult's hand, with a body-armor wearing ICE agent in between them. Again, the "ICE" label is clearly visible to make clear this isn't a general cop-hating message. As everyone knows, the police are friends and protectors to all, at least until they decide you're the enemy.

On either side of that image, the teens reproduced some know-your-rights tips from an immigrant-solidarity group, advising that if ICE doesn't show you a warrant signed by a judge, you don't have to open your door. That's the actual law, which is why dipshits on Twitter were very angry about it, since as anyone knows, illegals don't have rights (except for how they do).

The bus art drew the ire of Milwaukee County Supervisor Dan Sebring, who apparently thinks the kids are all just steps away from putting blue tape over women's mouths and driving them through the desert in Mad Max cars, then turning left, or maybe right. In a statement, Sebring complained,

The racist, anti-law enforcement messages contained in the Milwaukee Art Museum's paid ad on a county bus is an offensive abomination and a slap in the face to law enforcement officers and officials at every level

He didn't explain how the art was supposed to be "racist." ICE is not an actual race -- although you could argue it has a culture of sorts. A really rotten culture. Sebring had more thoughts about what a horrific outrage the bus is:

We cannot allow a county bus to be decorated with advertising that includes a "how-to" guide for illegal immigrants to evade law enforcement. MCTS should remove this so-called "art" immediately.

Knowing your rights is a dangerous guide to "evading" law enforcement -- and as William Barr reminds us, people knowing their rights is all just part of why we're no longer fit for self-government as the Framers intended.

The Milwaukee Art Museum issued a statement expressing unequivocal support for the kids and their stupid rights, and explaining the dumb art program, about which we are definitely NOT moony-eyed and gushy-hearted. Clearly programs like these are why America is in such sad shape today.

This summer, a diverse group of 18 teens participated in the Teen ArtXpress program from more than a dozen schools across the Milwaukee metro area, ages 16-18. Activities include making art with professional artists, giving tours of exhibitions at the Museum, leading art activities in the community, and participating in the Craft for a Greater Good program. The final project that the teens create is a mural that's placed somewhere in the community--typically on a bus or a bus shelter, paid for with Museum advertising dollars.

We don't steer or endorse what the teens create. As with any artist at the Museum, we don't censor their expression nor is the work a reflection of the Museum's position on any topic. We do encourage them to speak about artistic issues they care about. [...]

All the content, including the written content, was created or sourced through research by the teens as they explored the topic and created the artwork.

But isn't freedom of expression the whole problem here? Why can't you kids paint something nice that encourages quiet agreement with the powers that be? Or perhaps a historical tableau showing the French missionaries and explorers coming as early as the late 1600s to trade with the Native Americans. In fact, the name "Milwaukee" is an Indian name, although actually it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que," which is Algonquin for "the good land."

THAT would be a timely thing to have on a bus, young people. Especially if the other side of the bus depicted Alice Cooper.

Brigid Globensky, senior director of education and programs at the art museum, said it's not at all unusual for kids in the program to focus on a social issue, like homelessness, racism, or the environment.

Usually it starts with a conversation with the students and an educator figuring out the issues that are really important to them [...] They look at art throughout the museum's various collections and see how art can contribute to conversations.

There they go with that conversation stuff again. Don't these people know art is for looking pretty, not about making you think? We imagine it's only a matter of time until Scott Walker starts a GoFundMe to cover a bus with the art masterpieces of Jon McNaughton -- or sues the art museum to fund it, because equal time.

As of blogtime, the bus has at least not yet been firebombed, although who knows, Tucker Carlson may feature it this week.

Now do your own art in this OPEN THREAD.

[WITI-TV / Milwaukee Art Museum / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / Photos: Milwaukee Art Museum TEENS on Instagram]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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