The Institute for the Preservation of African American Music and Arts (IPAMA) was conceptualized, designed, and constructed to collect, house, and display artwork, artifacts, recordings, and historical memorabilia from across the diaspora while providing an interactive space and immersive, intercultural experience for the entire community to explore core beliefs and relevant issues regarding Black art over time. Established as a repository, learning habitat, and community-gathering space, IPAMA is dedicated to accurately depicting the experience and revealing the true story of African American artistic expression. Focusing on the resilient spirit of struggle and victory illuminated in the art and music intrinsic within the people of color it represents, IPAMA is a gleaming storehouse of education, enrichment, and encouragement for the entire city of Milwaukee.
The journey has been arduous and filled with peril, sacrifice, and triumph documented poignantly through the voices, brushes, instruments, tools, canvasses, lenses, and pens of Black artists. Birthed on the Mother Continent Africa, enduring enslavement, courageously battling institutionalized racism, decades of discrimination and Jim Crowism, through the Civil Rights movement of the sixties, overcoming policies of exclusion, ostracism, and failed community-policing, and even as we continue to fight for equity and equality today, IPAMA serves to accumulate, preserve, and tender a platform of display and dialogue, of exhibit and expression, solely for the benefit and enrichment of the community.
There are two IPAMA locations. IPAMA West is nestled scenically on a wooded 18-acre site on Milwaukee’s far northwest side residing within the spacious confines of an acclaimed Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece design. An excellent choice for retreats and gatherings away from noise, traffic, and the bustle of the city, IPAMA West provides privacy, first class amenities, and a respite for smaller groups, team-building, and a more intimate appreciation of selected, international art pieces displayed throughout the stunning facility. IPAMA West also houses many exotic art works, wall hangings, sculptures, hundreds of original vinyl recordings, and memorabilia acknowledging achievement and providing recognition of exceptionally significant and timeless Black art and artists.
IPAMA East rests within the heart of the community on Milwaukee’s northwest side and strives to enable collaborative engagement, intercultural learning, open exchange, and robust relationship-building through intuitive response and technological innovation. Within its walls, corridors, and exhibit halls, IPAMA East has created an environment of cultural exchange and community dialogue. In its displays, programming, meeting rooms, and cafe, it is lodged as a safe harbor to gather, celebrate, and appreciate social and cultural diversity and contribution. Capable of hosting events to recognize, inform, instruct, explore, and advance awareness, IPAMA welcomes all visitors and guests with open arms. Whether exploring social issues, controversial ideas, or mutual equity objectives which elevate and generate forward movement, or simply to soak in the rich wealth of Black art, a spirit of cooperation, reconciliation, and respect are ever present as you enter the decorated foyer of this magnificent museum.
Significantly, IPAMA East is also the home of the HistoryMakers Digital Archives, one of the nation’s most distinguished digital repositories of historical data on the lives of African Americans. This exclusive, proprietary portal provides unique access to thousands of stories about America’s most distinguished and celebrated African American leaders in sports, politics, science, medicine, religion, and all aspects of accomplishment and achievement.
IPAMA is a member of the National Association of African American Museums which establishes accreditation as a national, archival repository for the preservation and display of inventions, discoveries, and artistic accomplishments of African Americans from 1619 to the present.