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Beerline AS ARTery

Artery – a path for the life blood of the body. A main connector. ARTery – a ‘creational trail in 
Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood as envisioned by the group beINtween led by Keith Hayes and 
friends.
 
BeINtween and Hayes like to play with words in defining their art and vision. For many this project may be news but not to those “connected” to the group by social media. If you want to see their vision in detail please visit beintween.ning.org and I recommend searching around for videos they have posted.
Hayes has given the following information about the trail :
the City of Milwaukee “is moving forward with the acquisition of the Beerline Trail, which would connect 
the existing Beerline all the way to Capitol Drive (with federal dollars to the tune of $784K) and anticipates the 2/3 mile extension will be installed by 2014. BeINtween’s idea is to connect Harambee residents to Riverworks with a prototypical path paved with permeable mesh made from old auto tires, known as matireal™. To achieve this goal, the Common Council has accelerated the acquisition of the Capitol overpass, donated by Earthbound Development, move forward with this connection this summer to fulfill the goal of their successfully crowdsourced Kickstarter campaign last fall.”

 
 
 
Note the new word maTIREeal as the material proposed to create the trail. It is composed of recycled tires and gravel 
and/or plant material and is permeable 
(water flows through).
This trail extension from Richards Street northwest across Capitol Driver adds another link to the Beerline bicycle and pedestrian trail.
Other portions of the 
Beerline/Oakleaf trail were acquired through the efforts of River Revitalization Foundation (RRF). The part of the trail 
gets you down to the Milwaukee River at Riverboat Road and 
extends north to Gordon 
Park. It is a Milwaukee 
County trail.
Next the section through Riverwest 
neighborhood blocks, from 
Snails Crossing Park to 
Richards Street, is a City 
trail and was developed 
by Riverworks and the 
Business Improvement 
District they coordinate.
City officials have worked 
to make the purchase of 
the Richards Street trail 
addition happen.
In addition the sunny 
summer-feeling press 
conference on Monday 
May 20 announced a grant 
award of $350,000 from 
ArtPlace America to the 
Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) for two art oriented community building projects. One will be located on West 
Wisconsin Avenue and the other will be the ARTery. BeIntween will develop and, I imagine, implement the Beerline portion of the grant. Of course the Mayor 
and the Alderpersons (Kovac arrived on 
a bicycle on cue, although it would have been even better if he had come from the 
west on the new trail for his entrance) were all there thanking the grantor.
 
GMC’s Julia Taylor announced the grant and if there were not enough fingers in 
the pot, indicated that GMC’s own MiKE initiative along with advice from the 
Milwaukee Art Museum will provide guidance. 
 
Hopefully the boys with the tireBOWties, led by Hayes, will be able to develop their 
vision. I do have my doubts about the maTIREeal concept, and I imagine the 
city does as well. It is still in conceptual form and although Hayes and friends 
have been hacking away at collected waste tires, there is no finished section of 
trail to test. Unless I missed something.
 
There is a 40-foot swath on each side of the trail to develop and that may be the 
real ARTery. There are some ideas for the trail edge space, but let the dreaming 
begin again. You can’t argue with the stated vision of beINtween. We have neighborhoods 
right next to each other that don’t share much. Hayes talked of “the invisible 
barrier” that Holton Street represents. As a long-time resident, it would be easy to 
say, “…same as it ever was.” But that is no excuse. Try new ideas. 
 
A trail that not only connects in space but also connects different cultural identities 
is something that Riverwest, Harambee and Milwaukee all need.
If somehow beINtween can develop jobs as well, then that would be a great accomplishment.
 
If I am looking for successful pocket parks and city trail development in Milwaukee, 
I don’t have to go far. The Riverworks section of the trail is wonderful. The rails 
from the railroad made into vertical signs are ingenious. I love the covered waiting 
bench reminiscent of rail stations of old.
 
Snails Crossing must have more participants represented in the paths and 
tilework than any small park project. Thanks to Riverwest artist Marina Lee. 
 
Both places have improved landscapes and maturing p l a n t i n g s with built in 
stories to tell.’
 
Of course, I am biased because I work for RRF, but the Beerline gets you down to the river and 
even in the river on a boat or kayak and is the link to downtown.
 
I imagine there will be much argument (it has already started) about what Art 
is in public spaces and how do we do it best. I know that beINtween realizes this 
new section runs through Harambee and residents of Harambee must have their 
say. Hayes has laid out a whole series of events to gather input.
 
Maybe some of us from Riverwest can respectfully add a thought or two in 
humility. 
 
 Event Calendar
Contact beINtween.org for more information
May 26: Memorial Day community BBQ on the ARTery + 
reducing innertubes to rubber ribbons.
June 1: Tire round up from local alleys, garages, and 
abandoned lots and drop off @ container.
June 2: Designs due for greenhouse competition + 
reducing inner tubes to rubber ribbons.
June 8: Seminar on tire deconstruction and matireal 
prototyping on the ARTery.
June 9: Winners of greenhouse competition chosen and 
materials prefabbed + delivered to site.
June 15: Seminar on tire deconstruction and matireal 
prototyping on the ARTery.
June 16: Assembly and planting of two mini greenhouses 
at each end of the artery.
June 19: Juneteenth Day to possibly feature Teen Swag 
out of St. Louis.