Milwaukee OATS is a local screen-print art movement that promotes self empowerment. By definition, the word “movement” is “a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas.” The idea of this movement, Milwaukee Oats (OATS), is to bring a cultural revival and sense of unity to the city of Milwaukee. OATS promotes it’s ideas by using artistic designs to provoke an emotion on a simple t-shirt in a fashionable way. OATS is an acronym that stands for “only a t-shirt.” The irony of the name is that although the messages are portrayed on simple t shirts, the impact each shirt makes transcends itself. No longer is this just a simple t-shirt; through the messages it depicts, the shirt becomes a catalyst for a cultural renaissance. The t-shirt itself is a representation of Milwaukee, and wearing the shirt connects you with other people that agree with the message of the movement and helps promote these ideas. Being a part of Milwaukee means that Milwaukee is more than just it’s location, more than just it’s neighborhoods, more than just it’s geography. Being a part of the city means that the city is the people who live here. The city becomes the cultures, the flavors, the music of its citizens. We are the city of Milwaukee.
The goal for OATS is to create a cultural renaissance in Milwaukee by unifying it’s citizens. Wearing the t-shirts allows us to highlight our unique differences and bring a segregated city together as one. This “renaissance,” or revival, of unifying ourselves will allow Milwaukee, as a whole, to move forward and create a solid foundation for future generations to thrive on. To accomplish this goal, we will shine light on the fact that “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”. The idea we represent is that we are all artists, and in being artists, we all have an intuitive nature to create. It us up to us to take control of our own fates, our own city, and breath life and soul into our world.
OATS promotes the empowerment of one’s self, one’s control over their own thoughts and actions and one’s ability to attain goals. Since your perception shapes your world, then by changing your perception, you are able to change your world. If each of us individually strives to change our own personal worlds, as a collective unit, we will be able to strengthen, unify and change the city we reside in.
This idea of social and cultural unification is the “Milwaukee State of Mind,” by which not only are we empowered as individuals, but through this empowerment, we begin to redefine what it means to be a resident of Milwaukee. We, the people of Milwaukee, are masters of our own fates, creators of our own destinies, we control our own futures, and create our own world. We have the power, let’s keep it.