MILWAUKEE -- Oscar-winning filmmaker and Milwaukee native John Ridley on Tuesday, Feb. 27 unveiled his plan to make Milwaukee a creative hub with ties to Hollywood and New York.
In 2014, Ridley won the Oscar for best adaptive screenplay for "12 Years a Slave." Ridley said his Oscar moment was fleeting, but it has propelled his career to allow him to create and invest in a project that could help countless unknown artists pursue their dreams.
Introduced by his sister, Ridley greeted an intimate crowd on Tuesday to announce the creation of "No Studios."
"We are here today because of the Milwaukee community," said Ridley's sister, Lisa. "And the concept that we want to do is and things we talked about is building a space where people can come together."
Ridley, along with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, business partner, purchased a 40,000 square-foot building in the Pabst Brewery complex.
FOX6's Jonathon Gregg: "So we're talking about work space?"
"We're talking about work space. We're talking about talk backs, screenings. We're talking about having a gallery space. Any kind of art form and any way we can support it through a creative process, that's what we want to do," said Ridley.
The idea is to offer short- and long-term office and studio space to people and companies in creative fields.
FOX6's Jonathon Gregg: "And you've talked about the model being 'for profit.'"
Ridley: "What we don't want to do is, there are a number of non-profit organizations right now that are working actively to support the arts. We don't want to step on that."
Not only is Ridley trying to create a Milwaukee "art house," he wants to build a channel for industry people on the East Coast and West Coast to connect with untapped talent in Brew City.
"At this point in my life, hopefully over the next few years, I have name recognition that people are aware of," Ridley said. "I hope that we can use that outside of Milwaukee to generate interest. The interest here in Milwaukee has been off the charts."
"No Studios" is expected to open in September with programs to highlight the many uses of the space.