Three Monumental Mosaics Defining Milwaukee’s Modern Landscape

Virtual Event

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Did you know that Milwaukee is a center for mosaic art? A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from1960 named the city just that! The successful integration of art and architecture in the mid-century built environment is nowhere more apparent than through the awesome beauty of monumental mosaics, and Milwaukee is privileged to have many preservation worthy examples of them. Milwaukee’s modernist building boom of the early 1960s saw young artists working alongside the finest architectural firms. These collaborations are still evident today in some of Milwaukee’s most iconic downtown buildings: the War Memorial Center (1959, mosaic by Edmund Lewandowski); Marine Plaza, now known as Chase Tower (1962, mosaic by Merritt Yearsley), and Milwaukee State Office Building (1963, mosaic by Marjorie Kreilick).

Understanding the ethos behind the works, along with the principles and practice of mosaic methods of the era, can enhance historic preservation efforts as well as our general enjoyment of these precious cultural assets. Looking deeper at these site-specific artworks, we appreciate they are not ‘mere jewelry’ but intended as integral parts of the buildings’ architecture.

Lillian Sizemore, who has worked as a mosaicist since 1993 with a specialty in midcentury mosaics, will offer unique insight into these monumental architectural installations. Through an exciting visual presentation she will trace this ancient art from Italy to the Port of Milwaukee, to give viewers a 21st-century update and appreciation for these outstanding historic treasures hiding in plain sight.


Wednesday August 11, 2021
7:00 - 8:30 PM Eastern
Free for Milwaukee Preservation Alliance members/$10 non-members (You can join for as little as $15)

Event will be held virtually via Zoom. Login instructions will be provided following registration.

Lillian Sizemore is an independent researcher and Italian-trained mosaicist specializing in midcentury mosaic history. Sizemore was educated at Indiana University in Fine Arts and Italian, the University of Bologna in Italy, and The Prince's School of Traditional Arts in London. Sizemore is currently writing on the field of mosaic for international journals and is developing a survey of modern muralists.

Milwaukee Preservation Alliance promotes stewardship and knowledge of the historic, cultural, and economic value of Milwaukee’s built heritage. We aim to strengthen Milwaukee’s neighborhoods by advocating for preservation in order to foster a strong and vibrant community. Through advocacy and education, MPA is making preservation mainstream in Milwaukee by demonstrating to residents, business owners, and building owners the link between historic preservation and viable economic development.

This program is possible thanks to the generous support of Program Sponsors Mary and Ross Read and Anne H. and Fred Vogel III, along with Presenter Sponsor Eric Vogel and Zoom Sponsor UEDA - Urban Economic Development Association.