MATC Unveils New Community Artwork Focused on Breaking Down Barriers

Work to Be Shared with Public Oct. 15-16 as part of Gallery Night Milwaukee

Ginny Gnadt,, 414-467-7221

October 06, 2021

MILWAUKEE --  Community artists, including two Milwaukee Area Technical College students and an alumnus, gathered today to publicly unveil MATC’s Community Arts project “Breaking Through. The artwork will be open to the public Oct. 15-16 as part of Gallery Night Milwaukee at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus, 700 W. State St.

Last December, community artists were invited to send proposals for new or already-created art to be used to beautify MATC’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus, which has recently undergone renovations. 

Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC president, explained, “The name of this show — “Breaking Through” — speaks to our work to break down barriers between students and their academic and career success. That includes providing a safe place where differences are valued and celebrated, and where we can create a sense of belonging.”

Work from 13 artists was selected and is now installed across the campus. 

Community artists Byada, Kevin Boatright, Rochelle Weiner Carr, Enrique Del Aguila, Melissa Dorn and Libby Sutton joined Dr. Martin today; along with Julie Ashlock, Darele Bisquerra and Melissa Hartley-Omholt of the MATC Community Arts Committee.

Other artists in this inaugural show are Kim Burnett, Steffon Dixon, John Kowalczyk, Lennis Mathews, Dennis Robert, Julia Scheckel, Eric Stenzel.

Dr. Julie Ashlock, chair of the Community Arts Committee, said, “Too rarely artists actually get paid to share their efforts, the toils of their creation. So often it stacks up in their studios, living a life unfulfilled. This show opens up those doors and offers us a glimpse into the lives, hearts, souls and minds of others who through training, practice and devotion to their craft have achieved a level of mastery that, coupled with hard work and desire, brings them to that magical place of creation. To make something from nothing but a thought, a fleeting vision, an impassioned research-driven quest or a deeply ingrained memory is a gift they are sharing with us.”

Each artist spoke about their work and thanked the college for the opportunity. 

Student artist Del Aguila explained that he had made a smaller version of his artwork “Corazon de la Vida (Heart of Life)” earlier, but expanded upon it for the show. His work captures many important symbols of the Latino culture. Creating this piece “took me to the next level, to detail I’d never explored,” he said. “To me it says, ‘This is the moment, we’ve got to live.’”

Student photography artist Sutton, who works in health care, hit on a common theme for several artists. “Working on artwork gave me something to ground myself during the last two years of the pandemic,” she said. “It helped me channel my frustration and energy into something positive.” 

MATC’s artwork will be open to the public during Gallery Night, from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15; and 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16. To learn more about the artwork, visit:

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.