"Milwaukee Gaia Buddha" Tia Richardson Milwaukee, WI

All of Tia Richardson’s murals exude a glowing message of unity, growth and happiness. This is her signature—this passion for bringing hope and light to her home city. Richardson’s goal is to create public spaces where people can have conversations about Milwaukee’s most difficult issues. In this mural, “Milwaukee Gaia Buddha,” a young African-American child scatters seeds into the fallow ground, and a beautiful goddess-like figure rises up, phoenix-like, from the dirt… spreading her arms out like a blossoming tree.

“I believe in my city. I believe in Milwaukee. I believe in what we can do when we come together,” Richardson said, “That’s my life. That’s what I eat, live, drink and breathe, and since I see that, and I experience it, then it’s real for me, and that’s what Milwaukee is.” (As told to Wisconsin Life in 2016.)

Tia Richardson is an integrative community artist, focusing her efforts as an artist-in-residence for schools, community organizations, places of worship, and nonprofits. As an integrated community artist, she facilitates holistic visual arts programs for youth and adults using a team-building framework.  She often incorporates therapeutic techniques such as group rhythm, son, movement, and visual arts; as well as restorative practices like talking circles. In 2018, she was named Milwaukee's Artist of the Year.