Press Releases

For Immediate Release

March 7, 2023

CAVT Contact
Caroline Dannecker, CAVT Museums Inc.

Villa Terrace Art Museum announces biennial exhibition celebrating contemporary craft

Exhibition to feature five Greater Milwaukee artists

MILWAUKEE — The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum on Milwaukee’s East Side returns to its roots with the exhibition “Mestiere Biennale” which surveys and celebrates contemporary craft in Greater Milwaukee.

“Mestiere” – Italian for craft – is a juried exhibition surveying contemporary craft in the region. Artists must exhibit mastery of their material discipline to be selected. This year’s exhibition was juried by Curator Laura Bickford of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and features the works of Abigail Edmonds, Sheila Held, Melissa Paré, James Smessaert and Michael Ware.

“These artists address transformation and the nature of change, craft histories and futures, and the malleability of humble materials such as wool, wood and clay,” says Bickford of her choices. “They provoke new considerations of the contemporary world through their work, highlighting craft’s continued relevance to how we live.”

“There’s been a resurgence of craft in the public eye,” notes Senior Curator Phoenix Brown. “This exhibition is a way of celebrating craft and elevating it. Craft is artmaking and should be valued as such. ”

The Villa Terrace and Wisconsin have deep roots in craft according to Brown and the Museum’s Executive Director Jaymee Harvey Willms.

“Decorative arts is a very broad term in art,” says Willms. “Our collection and the Museum itself, exhibit an experimentation and mastery of the material rooted in functionality. That’s craft. From our wallpaper to our Colnik collection we are immersed in work that is both decorative and craft.”

Brown agrees. “Craft is ingrained in Greater Milwaukee, from architectural details in historic buildings like ours to the thriving makers spaces,” remarks Brown. “Craft continues to be relevant and continues to evolve. ‘Mestiere’ will explore its evolution and elevate local makers and artists of craft.”

“Mestiere Biennale” opens Thursday, April 6, 2023 and runs through August 13. A free public reception will be held opening night to celebrate the new exhibition from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Light appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available.

For more information regarding the exhibition or the Museum visit

About Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums Inc.
Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Museums Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving Milwaukee's history and enriching the county through culture and the arts. CAVT supports and celebrates the public’s access to these two historic homes and their art collections by providing innovative and inspiring exhibitions and programming that encourages a better, stronger and more inclusive Milwaukee. CAVT Museums oversees the conservation and continued development of the Museums through member and donor support. For information regarding membership, admission and events visit

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Past News

For Immediate Release: March 1, 2023

Villa Terrace Art Museum Welcomes Artist in Residence:

Milwaukee Painter Cat Gilbert Joins the Museum

MILWAUKEE — The Villa Terrace Museum of Decorative Arts on Milwaukee’s East Side welcomes local artist Cat Gilbert as its newest artist in residence this March.

“I was immediately enamored with the space and the gardens [when I first visited the Villa],” says Gilbert who is thrilled by the opportunity to study the museum’s Italian-inspired architecture and gardens more closely. “As an artist in residence, I intend to document the Villa through the colors and patterns found in its architecture and abundant plant life and bring the stories of the space into play through these details.”

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For Immediate Release: Oct. 12, 2022

Midwest Artists Take Center Stage in New Exhibition at Villa Terrace Art Museum

Three Rising Artists Tackle Identity and Experiences in Sculpture

MILWAUKEE – The Villa Terrace Art Museum in Milwaukee is putting the spotlight on three young, rising artists for its contemporary sculpture exhibition, “Grounded.”

Exploring narratives of identity and relationships with space and socio-political systems, “Grounded” presents experimental and formal sculpture installations by artists Nick Drain, Sydnie Jimenez and Z Moralez. Moralez and Drain recently graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Chicago-based Jimenez is a Midwest transplant and a recent graduate of the School of the Chicago Art Institute.

“Grounded is a moment to recognize the importance of emerging artists,” says Senior Curator Phoenix Brown. “In their work, Sydnie, Nick and Z are seamlessly combining multiple modes of making to challenge the status quo and cement their narratives in history.”

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For Immediate Release: Aug. 31, 2022

Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums Announce Access Program for Low-Income Families

The Allis joins the Villa Terrace in Increasing Art and Museum Accessibility in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE  – Today the Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums announced that they have joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits.

The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits visiting the museums. They will now receive free admission for up to four people to the Allis and the Terrace, with presentation of a SNAP electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card.

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