Wine and coffee, art and conversation, come together at the newest venue in the Historic Third Ward. It’s called MARN ART + CULTURE HUB (191 N. Broadway) and it’s actually multiple venues in one space, including an artist-run gallery, a marketplace stocked with work by local artists and a coffee and wine bar.

The new project by MARN (Milwaukee Artist Resource Network) aspires to be an incubator of local creativity. It’s a place where artists can meet and work, but the larger goal of attaching a coffee and wine bar to the Art Hub is to draw the general public. “We wanted to get the café as close to the street as possible so that people walking by every day will see it and come inside,” says Mal Montoya, MARN’s president and CEO.

The coffee and wine bar looks out through big glass windows onto Broadway, the Third Ward’s artery The century-old building boasts Cream City brick walls, exposed beam ceilings, blond wood floors and white tables and chair trimmed in black. Past the coffee and wine bar, decked out in gleaming chrome fixtures, is MARN’s bright white gallery. Along with the expected track lighting is a drop-down screen and 10-foot moveable walls enabling curators to reconfigure the space for each exhibit. Among the many innovative features is a triptych of footed screens, moving displays for motion graphics created by MARN staff.

Brick and Mortar

When MARN emerged at the start of the new century, it was known mostly as an online message board for artists. “It was living in the ethers with a virtual presence for a long time,” Montoya says. The membership-based organization briefly ran a gallery on Vliet Street and later operated from a modest office in the Third Ward’s Marshall Building. “In 2019 we received an anonymous grant that allowed us to build our operational capacity,” he continues. “We immediately felt there was an opportunity to establish a greater footprint for the local creative community.”

Read the article written by David Luhrssen in the Shepherd Express here.