C-K’s Work/Life: Randy Brown of Genesis.

C-K Work/Life features stories about the many hobbies, passion projects, side gigs, interests and hustles that C-Kers pursue in their lives.

Randy Brown joined C-K back in 2017 as a New Business Coordinator. To everyone he meets he has a warm kind-hearted spirit and a hard-working personality. He also has a strong passion for art. He, along with a few friends, opened a new art gallery and event space in Milwaukee for all ages. Genesis MKE provides opportunities for people from any walk of life, something that Randy believes is lacking in Milwaukee.

When and why did you decide to create Genesis?

I currently maintain an interdisciplinary art practice and was an active member of Chicago’s creative community. During my time in the second city, I was involved with organizations like the Center for Book and Paper Arts, EXPO Chicago, Glitch Fest, Medium Cool and I was a founding member of the cooperative studio/exhibition space Autotelic Studios (now Night Light Studios). Needless to say, visual art is my pulse.

My curatorial interests didn’t start to percolate until my return to Milwaukee, where I spent time working alongside the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Curatorial team and their Contemporary Art Society. This experience served as an all access pass into the city’s emerging art scene and I felt there was a lack of representation and growing disparity that mirrored the city’s complex socioeconomic make-up. I decided that an accessible platform for emerging and underrepresented voices was necessary in order to further develop Milwaukee’s aesthetic and cultural landscape.

Genesis is dedicated to creating an open and affirming environment for all artists. We exist to provide support and visibility for our local creative communities, and actively seek to develop diverse networks of makers and thought leaders to inspire change for a better more inclusive Milwaukee.

Why did you decide to focus on art?

I feel it is imperative that we allocate time and resources for the development of visual culture, contemporary art practices and critical discourse. I hope that Genesis can help empower the next generation of culture creators to drive innovation.

Why inspired you to continue this passion project?

I am inspired by the potential I see in every artist that operates within our space. I am a strong believer that our youth are the future and I’m willing to go to the wall for that. Albeit saccharin, I find joy in the self-expression of others, and I think the creation of accessible spaces to support emerging and underrepresented voices is paramount.

How do you find time to run Genesis while working at C-K?

I treat Genesis much like an extracurricular activity. My evenings and weekends are spent at this space. I also use Doodle a lot.

How this passion helped you in your life at C-K?

At Genesis, I am elbow to elbow with the next generation of culture creators. I’m constantly learning and challenging my preconceived notions, and I feel a greater connection to visual culture and emerging trends. That is the charm of conceptual art. It can really inform your perspective and I often find that I walk around with an assortment of lenses.

What is the best piece of advice you received about your career?

“Fear not.”

What has been the most rewarding part of having this passion project?

Taking on a project of this scope has only inspired me to be more determined and resilient. We don’t have to settle on just one thing. We can do great things across disciplines. It’s a negotiation with the self and the true measure of growth is exceeding the expectations, including your own.

Anything else you want to share?

In the immortal words of Aaliyah “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”

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