For over 70 years, the League of Milwaukee Artists (LMA) has championed artistic creativity and actively contributed to our Community. The League represents 108+ local artists creating two and three dimensional artworks in all types of media, a group dedicated to the promotion of visual creation, personal artistic growth, and the expansion of the Arts in our state, region and community.
As we prepared for our 70th anniversary, by a unanimous vote we changed our constitution to permit student artists to join the league.
Founded in 1944 The League of Milwaukee Artists was formed by a group of local artists and teachers frustrated by the lack of space to exhibit work in the Milwaukee area. For the first few years, they met in members' homes and held shows wherever they could. They became very innovative in their exhibition sites including the halls of the downtown library, the Milwaukee Public Museum and even the Electric Company.
By the early 1950s, the League founded a gallery on Highland Avenue and began to meet at the Milwaukee Engineering Society building, northwest of the Marquette campus. It was at this time that the League became the first art group in the Midwest to hold outdoor art fairs. The fairs were held in local parks including Washington Park and on the grounds of local landmarks such as the Charles Allis House and Radio City, the home of WTMJ-TV and in shopping malls. Fifteen thousand people attended the Whitnall Park Art Fair in October of 1955. By the mid 1950s the League found a home within the Charles Allis Museum and held an Annual Spring Juried Exhibition.
In more recent years, the League has been home to several renowned local artists and is aggressively looking to provide ways to exhibit our members' work and to find ways for the public to see our shows. League membership is limited and jury review for the few membership openings each year is very competitive. In addition to donating to local charities and scholarship funds, the League initially organized the Milwaukee Plein Air Festival and co-hosted with the Wisconsin Visual Artists. This event raised money for Artists Working in Education giving young people an opportunity to explore art in their schools and neighborhoods. The League membership has participated in the Milwaukee Artist Market at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Green Living Festival at the Mitchell Park Domes, sketching and painting for visitors.
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