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Expert Series: Panel on Immigrant Contributions in Wisconsin
July 9, 2023 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm CDT
The Expert Series welcomes renowned scholars and artists to the Milwaukee Art Museum for engaging, expansive conversations that dive deeper into an exhibition, artist, or theme.
Enrich your experience of the exhibition “Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980” through a local perspective. Learn about the cultural influence of the historic Scandinavian and German and the more recent Hmong and Puerto Rican immigrant populations across the state.
Panelists include local historian John Gurda, Scandinavian-American folklorist Dr. Marcus Cederström, designer Hua M. Conry, and 2022 Milwaukee Artist of the Year Ck Ledesma.
This event is included with Museum admission and free for Members.
ABOUT THE EXPERTS
John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown since 1972. He is the author of twenty-three books, including The Making of Milwaukee, the first full-length history of the community published since 1948, and Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, a geographic companion that has quickly become the standard work on grassroots Milwaukee. In addition to his work as an author, Gurda is a frequent speaker on Milwaukee topics and for twenty-nine years was the local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The common thread in all of his work is an understanding of history as “why things are the way they are”.
Hua Moua Conry is a visual storyteller who confronts her identity of being first-generation Hmong American while building a bridge back to her ancestral land. Her parents had fought for the U.S. during the Vietnam War, also known as the “Secret War,” and were granted asylum. At the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), Hua partnered with a fellow Hmong student to explore the Hmong diaspora focused on cultural preservation and adaptation through their project “The Door in the Mountain: A Hmong Folktale Project.” Hua graduated from MIAD in 2007 with a BA in Communication Design. She has since sold hundreds of books and art pieces from this passion project. Hua currently holds the position of Associate Creative Director for Ace Hardware in Chicago, IL.
Marcus Cederström is the community curator of Nordic American folklore for the “Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest” project at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research focuses on Scandinavian American folklife as well as the intersections of immigration, labor, and creative expression. In addition, he works with Indigenous communities on issues of sustainability, cultural revitalization, and pedagogy. Cederström teaches folklore courses, conducts fieldwork with Nordic American people in the Upper Midwest, and works with folklorists and artists throughout the region to create public programming supporting folk arts.
Ck Ledesma is a transdisciplinary artist, educator, and curator from San Juan, Puerto Rico based in Milwaukee. They are currently an adjunct professor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and work with numerous arts institutions such as Woodland Pattern Book Center and Walker’s Point Center for the Arts. Ck is a 2022 Mildred L. Harpole Artist of the Year and a 2020 Mary L. Nohl Fellow, and they have served as the artist-in-residence for the Cesar Chavez Drive Business Improvement District in Milwaukee and the Mitchell Street branch of the Milwaukee Public Library. Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Racine Art Museum, the Haggerty Museum of Art, through the Museums Association of the Caribbean and, most notably, within the community.