Nearly 130 years after it was built, Arts @ Large has revitalized the space to honor its history as a vibrant community center.
The historic Patrick Cudahy building was constructed in 1890, featuring three commercial storefronts on its first floor and eight apartments on the upper two floors. Over the years, the building served the Walker’s Point neighborhood in a variety of ways, most notably as The Polish House which opened to the public in 1938 as a youth recreation and arts center. The site became a gathering space for kids of all nationalities – Polish, German, Greek, Norwegian, and Mexican and was in use almost every night for arts, theater, music, and community events.
The newly renovated Arts @ Large Community Center features a student art gallery, art studios, a café and catering kitchen, a training center and conference rooms, office space for Milwaukee area nonprofits and small businesses, and public space for weddings, parties, and events.
The water feature in the basement features clear pvc piping that makes
visible the storm water runoff redirected from the community center in
to the combined sewer system. Because Arts @ Large worked with
partnering organization, Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions to
redevelop a park in the Walker’s Point Neighborhood, Paliafito
Eco-Arts Park, that has a 7,000 gallon underground cistern that
diverts rainwater collected on site away from the combined sewer
system, the clear pvc shows the volume of water that can be redirected
if green infrastructure practices are used.