• The Daily

    Explorations, conversations, observations


    Day one

    I realize quickly that most of my experience and expectation of the trail is travel via bike. I am excited to participate with the trail at a different pace, and wonder what other types of trail functions I will find!


    Under the 27th St Viaduct

    The main shade in three bridges park is provided by the cover of the viaducts. Standing under the 27th st. viaduct you get a glimpse of train tracks. I really liked this rock. Staring longingly, perhaps, at the tracks.s I wonder where it's trying to go.


    Brewers Stadium

    Though it's been hard to notice anything but the hot sun lately, at this spot on the trail it was nearly impossible to NOT be distracted from the heat, to sing along with the pop music blaring from the tailgate party just up the hill.

    *please note the hotdog crossing the bridge.


    The Museums

    The Lake Shore Park head ranger wonders about how to get more people to stay in the park. This space is particularly magical because of it's plantings and proximity to the lake. It's used as a thoroughfare because of it's proximity to summer fest and Museums. I am curious about how people build their patience for the slow paced magic.


    Hawley Road

    This is my first experience with the trail being used as a pedestrian space. My cart was stations on the trail near an office building, a bank, and other businesses where workers were given a long enough lunch break to walk the trail. I was amazed at how trafficked it was. I talked to some workers and they requested a picnic table!


    WE Energies Power Plant

    It's amazingly hot today - I can hardly focus. It doesn't help that this place is mostly concrete - horizontal and vertical. What makes it worth sitting and drawing in the hot sun? Is it the tracks that run through the trail or the seagull and train sounds. Or the curiosity of what exactly moves through that giant metal rainbow over the road.


    A Hidden Place

    On the trail to the north of the river - just over the bridge near the urban ecology center the trail splits into 3 paths. The middle path leads to a secret spot - a place where you can be among the tall grasses and sunny flowers. It's peaceful and I find it a good spot to process some of the more challenging truths about our world right now.


    Picnic Tables

    I was told from the woman who manages the trail that when they dismantled the slaughter house - an important piece of valley history - they used the doors from the cattle stalls and repurposed them into picnic tables. I feel like this is a strange example of the sublime.


    Canal St. and 20th st.

    This photo is from a moment earlier in the month, but I returned to this spot and was so engrossed in looking, wondering, and drawing that I forgot to take a photo. The drawing (seen below) depicts the other buildings found on this site. The one in the foreground is a Biodigesting system taking Potawotomi's food waste and turning it into energy that they then sell to WE Energies.  


    Lake Shore Park

    Lakeshore State Park was created with excess materials from the deep tunnel project. Rocks were piled to build an island that protects the Summerfest shoreline and creates a recreational space. This isn't the only Milwaukee land that was made build-able by using waste.



    I reach the lake. There is a distinct shift in temperature, and for the first time in my exploration of the trail a shift in scenery. A new set of visual elements beyond the industry and nature that you'll find between 6th and 43rd.



    I'm always attracted to the strange man-made things along the trail - there are shapes and sizes that you just don't see every day. There are functions that are mysterious. I'm sure that I benefit from these things somehow.


    Three Bridges Park

    These wooden pilings remain from a bridge that used to cross the river. These little glimmers of history exist everywhere. I wish they were better marked - but would we stop to read the sign?


    The 16th St. Viaduct

    The Milwaukee Viaducts are magical pieces of infrastructure. They create tight layers of human use. They are their own ecosystems - expanding our idea of nature. An element of that ecosystem is storm water. Each viaduct's drainage is handled differently and offer intriguing variations on how we control of the forces of nature.


    Ex-Cargill building

    A security guard from Potawatomi Casino comes and explains which areas are public and which are private as I set up my Exchange Stand. I appreciate his knowledge and acceptance of shared space. He tells me about the buildings on either side of the casino - I am surprised to learn they used to be part the meat industry. The business still is functional today, though the location has changed and the slaughter house (just west of Potawatomi) is no longer operational.



    I am always seeking community and at the same time trying to stay community-less. To be a part of everything means to belong to nothing. It may sound silly, but every time I am in Three Bridges Park, I have the sense that I am being hugged - welcomed, accepted, a part of the whole.


    Three Bridges Park

    A drumlin is a geological formation created from the movement, gathering, and depositing of glacial till (lots of rocks). The hills in Three Bridges Park are urban drumlins. Formed by the movement, gathering, and depositing of our old freeway structure (lots of rocks).


    Personal Path

    There was another path created off of the side of the bridge at 32nd and Canal. It's a long one, and you can follow it down the hill and onto a road below. These paths are an interesting document of people's rare opportunity to interact with unplanned space.


    The 32nd Street Overlook

    This spot is magical! A varied vantage point and so much motion. You can hear and see the trains below. Cars pass around the bend and bikers take the hill. There are more pedestrians than I would expect, because this is a rare moment to access the valley from the neighborhoods above. Merrill Park connects to the trail through an underpass with 94 roaring above.


    Snake Cover Board

    I met a group from the Urban Ecology Center putting out boards that attract snakes. They will collect data and track the snakes they attract over the course of the summer. Did you know that female snakes are larger and fatter than males? And you can feel their embryos inside of them!


    Valley : Work

    I spend time near the Road Shops again, which is close to Palermo's Pizza and the flight of stairs that goes from the valley up to a bus stop on the viaduct. It reminded me of the valley's legacy of industry, providing jobs, and people walking to work. So many people use these stairs that they have created their own path. I always find these personalized walking paths interesting and hard to ignore.


    The Bridge

    Today I set up on the bike path overpass over HWY 41 (Miller Parkway).

    I enjoy standing in the concrete center and gazing off into the wooded path on either side.


    The Milwaukee Road Shops

    Today I set up my cart on the site of what used to be the Milwaukee Road Shops. The Road Shops were an industrial complex that took up 160 acres of land in the valley, employed almost 3,000 people, and produced every aspect of locomotives. The shops closed in 1985 and by 2010 the last pieces of physical evidence, 2 chimneys, were torn down. They stood in this exact spot.


    Escuela Verde

    I met some teachers and administrators from Escuela Verde (a project-based school on Pierce and 37th) walking with a few students. Their gym class is hiking the Hank Aaron Trail.


    Day one

    I realize quickly that most of my experience and expectation of the trail is travel via bike. I am excited to participate with the trail at a different pace, and wonder what other types of trail functions I will find!

  • Sights & Sounds


    Under the 27th St Viaduct

    Wind in 3 bridges Park

    The dancing blue flowers, and the reflections of the water on the bridge, a prime example of slow paced magic.

    Miller Parkway

    The bridge over HWY-175

    Stadium view

    Joy Global

    Just West of the UEC

    Work Talk

    The River

    Just over the bridge from the UEC

    A lovely view of the Menomonee.

    Brewers Trail

    Below the parking and pedestrian bridges

    Sounds of a Tailgate and Pokemon go players

    Secluded Spot

    Just over the bridge and down the path

    Immersed in tall plants

    Just west of 35th and South of Canal

    Birds in the Cattails

    When you zoom in on moments in the valley you can get lost and let the city drift away.

    16th St and Canal St

    Pink Seagull Sky

    Seagulls float through the sunset.

    Menomonee Valley Community Park

    Singing Frogs

    Where the Milwaukee Road Shops once stood there is now an understated but extraordinary park. A great pedestrian space.

    Palermo's Pizza

    Lunch Break

    Peering across the road and under the viaduct I could see Palermo's employees on their lunch break enjoying a game of Bags.

    Three Bridges Park

    Water Access

    From water level, I hear a Red-winged blackbird. Soon you'll be able to dip your toes in from both sides of the river.

    Under the Viaduct

    Cars and Wind

    Layers upon layers of roadways.

    Power Plant

    Canal St. under Hwy 94/43

    Humming transistors and rurring cars.

    Canal St. Near 7th

    360 Valley View


  • Drawings

    Canal St. under HWY 43

    Canal St. near 19th

    Three Bridges Park

    16th St. Viaduct

    Lakeshore State Park

    32nd and Canal St.

    Palermo's Hairnet

    Milwaukee Road and Canal St.

  • About

    The Why


    I design interventions, events, or performances that instigate my own and others' exploration of Milwaukee's public places.

    These actions have beautiful side effects. There is social interaction, an experiential understanding of new places, and an exchange of personal and public histories.


    The project EXCHANGE was created as a way to spend time with the Hank Aaron State Trail.

    My goal is to explore the diverse neighborhoods that it passes through, the people that interact with it for travel or leisure, and the wildlife that the trail supports.


    This project is also an experiment in Art Funding.

    The Exchange cart will offer items inspired by my time on the trail, which can be exchanged for a donation. The money gathered will then go to fund a larger work amalgamating my time on the trail.

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    Have you interacted with the Hank Aaron State Trail? Have you experienced Exchange? Do you have a story to share?