Now that I have introduced myself, I have decided to write a little about The Branch. Every time I visit, I am struck by amount of art on the walls, tables, and even inside the giant bank vault. I wanted to find out how The Branch decided to host artwork and it’s contribution to the city of Racine’s character. The Branch’s owner, Kristina Campbell kindly sat down for a brief interview about the Branch’s artistic displays.
What inspired you to host artwork at The Branch?
Art has been a big part of my life forever. I went to school to be an art teacher and then changed my mind. I’ve always liked art and I still do painting or drawing when I can. I like to be in an environment where art is always around us. I think it makes our lives more colorful and fun.
How does hosting artwork benefit The Branch and the community of Racine?
I think it gives local artists a place to display their work and sell pieces. It also gives the people a space to come see art, so it’s a great benefit to the community. It makes our community more vibrant and colorful. It also brings in lots of unique and different eclectic pieces.
Do you have a favorite piece of art?
It’s not in this building, but my favorite mural that we did over the summer was the mural that (ed: Branch employee/ mural artist) Thyla did of the headdress. (ed: the title of the piece is “Dreamer”)
Tell us about these murals. How did they come about?
I’ve been wanting to get murals in this area for a long time and we made contact with lots of artists. Then, as we were talking, we decided that this was something uptown needed to bring back to life. We contacted some of the building owners and they were excited about having art on their wall. After getting one done, we just kept building from there. More and more people started to ask about it, wanting it on their building, and artists wanted to be part of it. It just kept growing. We got ten murals done over the summer.
You’re an artist yourself. How was your moss collage created?
I made that out of wood and cut the pieces to make the design. We then filled it with preserved moss and created a visually interesting piece.
What inspired you to do that?
It was for one of our pop up weddings as a backdrop. It turned out so great that we left it on the wall.
What’s your plan for the coming year?
We have plans for doing ongoing galleries and bringing in more local artists. We have a plan to do indoor murals and currently have a competition going on right now to do a mural on the walls here. This summer, we are trying to get some big murals painted on some of the buildings on uptown, continuing the mural project in the area.