Riverwest Artists Association (RAA) was founded to revive a biannual neighborhood arts event, the Riverwest Artists’ Studios Walking Tour, which was sponsored by the Milwaukee Art Museum. This became an annual event, ArtWalk, the first weekend of October. In 2018, ArtWalk was expanded to include the entirety of 53212 (Bronzeville, Riverworks and Riverwest) as 53212: Studio + Gallery Walk.
RAA purchased its venue, the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts, in 2008. RAA purchased its venue, the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts, in 2008. Originally a corner tavern and community hall, the downstairs space became a renowned jazz club, Chuck LaPaglia’s Milwaukee Jazz Gallery, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, and the Marsalis brothers played on the stage.
Today, the venue serves as a community arts center. Live music, art exhibits, community events and festivals make 926 East Center Street a heart of this area’s culture and community. Offering opportunities for learners to work with masters, retired professionals to perform and mentor, and all to share the bounty of creativity, The Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts is uniquely connected with a wide spectrum of people as well as collaborating organizations.