Black Arts MKE, Inc. (formerly Black Arts Think Tank, Inc.) mission is to continue building strong, sustainable African American arts organizations and entrepreneurial artists in Milwaukee that preserve and promote the history and culture of the African diaspora and inspire creativity in future generations. We’re committed to exposing diverse audiences to cultural programming.

We’re an umbrella organization that provides operations, financial management, leads fundraising and program management for African American arts organizations to help them thrive in our community. To help organizations, we aim to find synergies, drive out inefficiencies and eliminate redundancies to create stronger and sustainable African American arts organizations.

We engage hundreds of urban, underserved and under-resourced children, families, and audiences through educational outreach, public performances, special events and community collaborative partnerships. Black Arts MKE is a proud UPAF Affiliate and Resident Group at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Black Arts MKE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

Educational Outreach
We serve more than 3,000 students in 16 schools, grades K5- 8, and 16 after-school programs during the 2016-17 school year. Black Arts MKE artists integrate performing arts education and visual arts programs into daily core subjects, giving students a comprehensive learning experience. We serve urban Milwaukee neighborhood schools serving at-risk, underserved, under resourced, and primarily African American youth.

Black Arts MKE member organization Ko-Thi Dance Company is a Cultural Partner with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Arts in Community Education (ACE) Program to bring Ko-Thi Dance Company African dance and music arts education programming eight ACE schools in 2017.

Ko-Thi Dance Company operates a youth development program for children to engage in rich cultural and artistic experiences through its after school African dance and drumming program. Ton Ko-Thi Children’s Performing Ensemble after school program is dedicated to the training and experience of African and Caribbean dance and music at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Using a myriad of dance and drumming styles, training develops self-esteem, increased communications skills, interactive and collaborative skills, necessary for any workplace and career. Children and youth ages 7 – 16, are recruited through Ko-Thi Dance Company’s outreach in schools, DRUMTALK, and/or community classes held throughout the year.

Public Events and Performances
Ko-Thi Dance Company debuted its main stage concert performance in Milwaukee, VIBRATIONS: Rhythmic Motion in February 2017. Stay tuned for information on its 2018 concert in Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Black Arts MKE will offer our first Mother’s Day Gospel Brunch on May 14, 2017, in collaboration with Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Help us start a tradition MKE!

We will produce our third annual gospel musical production of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes in collaboration with Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in December 2017.




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