Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Artist Statement

I would start by saying that when I signed up for this class I didn't even have the closest idea that it was going to be like this. All-in-all, the class exceeded my expectations and even more. Walnut Way was a GREAT organization to work with, I wish I had met Larry, Sharon and Nicole earlier in the semester because they are one of the nicest people I had ever met, and my documentary would have never been realized if it wasn't for their help and support.

Speaking of the documentary, I must say it was a challenge to make. I didn't think I was going to pull through with what I imagined. To start, I changed the whole concept two weeks prior to the due date, then I wasn't able to find enough media to cover my new concept. These must have been for me the hardest two weeks this semester, I've "call off" twice from work because I didn't think I had enough time. I really felt like a ping-pong ball when all the municipal agencies sent me back and forth to other departments because they didn't have the information I needed, which is a shame by the way. What made my experience even better was those municipal employees that pretended to be busy just because they don't want to help you (ahem!) Historical Society (ahem!). Anyways, those of you expecting a History Channel-esque documentary I'm sorry but I didn't have all the information I needed. But it was for the best!

Going back to the making of the documentary (which is my first one), doing the research I did on the house was very interesting. I learned a lot about the house's past and through the interview I had a sneak peak about its future. Interviewing Larry and Sharon Adams was the best part of this project. I could really tell they are very committed to their cause and that is very inspiring. It was really hard for me to cut as much footage as I did when all they said was very important. Now the hardest part about making this documentary (aside from getting all the information together) was editing. To be honest, its been a year exactly since I haven't use Adobe Premiere, so going back was like starting from the beginning. I spent 3 days just to put 10 minutes together (but thats my computer's fault, its a bit too slow), but they were worth it and it shows (I Hope). In the end, I didn't get what I wanted (due to the lack of historical content) but I did get what I didn't think I wanted.

Well to finish this off, this class has been a great experience overall (I'm glad I left my GER for last), I don't think we could had gotten a better organization than Walnut Way. Vicky, Larry, Sharon and Nicole thank you so much for this great opportunity! This is William Ramirez...signing off!

Hope you enjoy this documentary!

Development Diary #7

-Friday May 11th-

Today I interviewed Larry and Sharon Adams, I got a lot of good footage. I cant wait to put this together. Sorry for the quick input but I have to get started! My next post should be my artist statement along the anticipated interview! Larry, Sharon and Nicole, Thank YOU! for you time & support!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Development Diary #6

-Wednesday May 9th-

Today was another productive day, I spent the afternoon in Walnut Way taking pictures and video with the assistance from Elias. We took a personal tour of the house and somehow ended in the attic and came across a huge collection of vintage jazz records and books left by the previous owners of the house, everything was good until I hit my head with the ceiling coming down the stairs (ouch!!).

After that, I went to the Central Library downtown and spent the rest of the evening (until they kicked me out) in the Humanities Department. There I found 3 documents that called my interest. Two of them were maps of Milwaukee from 1909 & 1910 (notice the lot each year) and the other was a document that explained the migration from African-Americans to Milwaukee per decade (late 19th & early 20th century). The latter confused me a bit because to my
understanding the owner of the house (Mrs. Barnett) was African-American and the document stated that that part of Milwaukee wasn't populated with African-Americans till 1930 and according to my records it shows that she owned the house as early as 1919. Nothing a little more investigation can clear up, tomorrow or Friday I'll be visiting the library to look at the census taken those years to uncover this mystery. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Development Diary #5

-Tuesday May 8th-

Today I spent all afternoon and part of the night researching what was like in the early 1900's (mostly 1920's & 1930's). The following are couple of videos of an era (and its events) this house and its occupants went through. You may ask yourself, what do these videos have to do with the Walnut Way House? I would say a lot! Buildings are consequences of an era no matter how indirect these relations are.

To live in the 20’s

The jazz age 1920

Housing Bust Recovery

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Development Diary #4

-Thursday May 4th-

Today I visited all the places Carlen Hatala mentioned in her reply to my email. My first visit was at the Historic Preservation Department, there I found everything I wanted to know (from it's architect to previous owners) and more (fire accident!!!).

Friday, May 4, 2007

Development Diary #3

-Wednesday May 2nd-

At 11:45pm after getting out from work I received an e-mail from Carlen Hatala (from the Department of Historic Preservation) sent at 3pm that same day. The email stated that everything I requested was available not through their office (since it wasn't considered an historic building), but through different municipal agencies. Tomorrow will be a very busy day for me.