Black Arts Fest MKE; Joins lineup of ethnic festivals at Henry W. Maier Festival Park

May 10, 2018

Summer in Milwaukee got more exciting with the announcement of Black Arts Fest MKE, a new cultural festival to be held at Henry Maier Festival Park The festival will celebrate and showcase African and African American culture from noon to midnight on Saturday, August 4, 2018.

Derek Tyus, Chief Investment Officer and Vice President of West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, serves as Chairman of the Black Arts Fest MKE Board of Directors. Tyus said, “We are very excited to see an African American focused festival returning this year. Black Arts Fest MKE is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the culture, traditions, values and talents of African Americans. We hope that the festival will inspire all attendees and strengthen pride in our ancestry.”

Festival organizers, including respected African American business leaders in Milwaukee (see list below) are placing an emphasis on highlighting different forms of artistic expression – music, dance, educational activities, art and food. “There is a wealth of African and African American talent in Milwaukee County and the state, we look forward to sharing it with the entire community, said Black Arts Fest MKE Executive Director Patrice Harris. “We are planting the roots of Black Arts Fest MKE at Maier Festival Park and look forward to growing it to its full potential in the years to come.

The Miller Lite Oasis, Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, Children’s Stage and the large grassy area east of the mid gate will feature a variety of programs. Various genres of music are on tap, performances and workshops for children, dance performances and activities focused around African heritage are in store. Market Square will feature wares and products aligned with the culture and produced by black owned business. Attendees will also be able to explore an attraction at the festival that showcases talent that too often goes unseen.

“We are proud to host Black Arts Fest MKE at Henry Maier Festival Park and showcase the arts, food, and culture, as well as the spirit of Milwaukee’s African American community” said Don Smiley, President & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “It is exciting to welcome this new addition to our diverse lineup of events, further earning our reputation as The City of Festivals.”

Headliners, entertainment, programming, vendors and features will be announced in the coming weeks.

Advanced sale tickets are on sale now. Adult tickets (ages 12 and older) may be purchased for just $9, a 30 percent savings off the gate price ($12). Youth (ages 8 – 11) and Senior (60 and older) tickets are also available.

Children (0 – 7 years of age) and Military and Veterans with a photo ID and proof of service will be admitted free at the gate. Tickets are on sale now through August 3 and may be purchased at

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the festival or making a contribution, or becoming a vendor, please inquire via the email

Visit for more information and updates on entertainment, programming, activities and more at the festival or connect with us at Black Arts Fest MKE on Facebook.

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