A note from the publisher: 2023 marks our 10th year anniversary of supporting the visual arts in Wisconsin. With this new journey on the horizon, Artdose Magazine expands regionally to introduce new voices from neighboring states Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. In our current summer issue Vol 33 we introduce you to Voices Productions.
Earlier this month, I traveled to Dubuque to meet Sam Mulgrew and Gene Tully, co-founders of Voices Productions. We met at Devour Cafe over a cup of Joe. After our conversation we headed to their newest spot, Voices Studios, 1585 Central Ave, Dubuque, IA 52001, which is currently being renovated to house gallery space, an artist-in-residence program, events, and more. As a former gallery owner, my eyes lit up. They are truly giving back to the city that they grew up in. Their passion and investment aimed to inspire future generations with the goal of providing them with a sense of community pride and ownership of their city.
Click here for my post on visiting Dubuque for the first time.
In what began as an idea to showcase local artists in 2006, Voices Productions has grown to become synonymous with the contemporary art movement in Dubuque, Iowa.
Started as Voices in the Warehouse, the non-profit group creatively utilized an old warehouse in the then underutilized, Millwork District of Dubuque. Their plan was to offer a unique interactive art experience through gallery exhibitions, dance performances and provide sculptural, intimate spaces in which to view local art. It quickly became one of the most anticipated events of the year. Now, the Dubuque Millwork district is a bustling area of renewed entrepreneurship, offering stylish renovated apartments, trendy bars, and chic shopping and dining experiences.
After several years, in 2016, Voices Productions decided to move from their gallery space in the Dubuque Millwork District and instead “Take it to the Streets” with a large-scale Mural project that was a major success. These murals can be seen all over the downtown Dubuque area and have a fantastic variety of styles and subject matter. Artists from throughout the United States were invited to participate in painting these works as guest artists and worked closely with Tri-State area local artists to collaborate and complete these beautiful works of art that adorn their historic brick building canvases.
According to one of the Voices founders Sam Mulgrew, “All vibrant communities have some degree of public art adorning their public space. Dubuque greatly lagged in this area of creative expression It is the intention of Voices Productions to move the needle, and get people in Dubuque involved in discussing and engaging in all forms of public art.”
Through this natural evolution of success, and continued interest in Voices projects, it was decided that this influential non-profit should have a new location to call home. So, in 2020, founders Sam Mulgrew and Gene Tully purchased a building at 1585 Central Ave. with the hopes of sharing the groups unique cultural vibrancy with a whole new area of town. This new location is known as Voices Studios. It offers 10,000 square feet for art galleries, an expansive artist studio, an urban courtyard with sculpture garden and even an art bar. Voices Studios will launch an artist-in-residency program and roll out a multi-disciplinary schedule of visual and performing arts for the public.
Through grants and donations, the renovations have begun on the new building and are expected to be completed in the first phase by fall of 2020 or spring of 2023. If you are interested in learning more about Voices Studios, or by participating as a donor or artist, please visit our website or social media channels.