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aerial view of Milwaukee River Greenway

Jayce Kolinski: Artist in Residence in the Milwaukee River Greenway

April 14, 2021  |  Topics: featured artist

The Natural Realm presents Jayce Kolinski who is among 17 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Tall Pines Conservancy, and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. The mission of ARTservancy is to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists. Each artist has selected a preserve to spend time in and to engage with.

Artist Statement by Jayce Kolinski:

I am a Milwaukee-raised and based nonfiction filmmaker and photographer. My work explores our connection to the spaces around our everyday life through diaristic documentaries. The films take on a hybrid form that wanders between personal, cultural, and environmental investigations and stories of landscapes and places. Rooted in personal experience, my films reflect on the hand of the maker and authority of documentary as it relates to truth. Most of my work explores topics relating to the natural world and our knowledge of it. These works are intertwined by a collage of analog and digital video formats that explore alternative processes to image-making. The final form for these images comes in short and feature-length films that are distributed primarily through live outdoor screenings that showcase the film in the setting it was created.

Jayce Kolinski walking in a beech grove in Pleasant Valley Park, in the Greenway.
Photo credit: Eddee Daniel

The Milwaukee Greenway has been the focus of my filmmaking for the last year or so.  When the pandemic hit, I thought it was the perfect time to create an urban nature documentary exploring the history of the greenway and the voices that shaped it. Throughout the production, I met so many whose passion for conservation inspired me to make a nature documentary that places history, conservation, and personal stories next to the plants and animals that have lived here since time immemorial.

A live, outdoor screening of Daydreams from Yesterday.

The product of this residency will be a live, outdoor screening series that features my film, Daydreams from Yesterday, presented alongside the river where it was shot. Daydreams from Yesterday is a multi-layered experiential interaction between a place and its community. This takes the form of a live-streamed invitation and a live-performance documentary that explores the iconic Milwaukee Greenway through a collection of 35mm slides, digital video, and overhead projections. 

A screen capture from the film.

The film takes the form of a living guidebook that seeks to enrich the viewer’s experience of our communal parks by compiling and weaving the past and present upon a single plane. It begins its investigation by wandering through the historical and contemporary voices that have shaped the lands around the Milwaukee River. Along the way, it dives deeper into the woods looking closer at the plants and animals currently living in our backyards. Altogether, the film and its presentation look to draw us closer to the beautiful public lands within Milwaukee, and to the community of conservationists and stewards working to preserve and grow the garden in the heart of our city.


A walk in the Greenway; screen capture from the film.
Aerial of Greenway looking towards downtown Milwaukee; screen capture from the film.
Found object; screen capture from the film.
Postcard; screen capture from the film.
Contemplation; screen capture from the film.
Aerial of Greenway looking upstream at North Avenue bridge; screen capture from the film.
From a live, outdoor screening of Daydreams from Yesterday.
Gallery installation at UW Oshkosh.
Link to view video:
Oldest American Beech Tree in Milwaukee
The artist speaking at an outdoor screening.


Jayce Kolinski received a BFA in Film from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts in 2020 during which they founded Milwaukee Nonfiction. Since its founding, Milwaukee Nonfiction has hosted numerous screenings and workshops facilitated to empower local documentary makers. After college, they created an outdoor screening series about the history of conservation along the Milwaukee River. This outdoor screening series has collaborated with numerous nonprofit organizations to host events that highlight their first feature films that explore the rich history and biological diversity of the Milwaukee Greenway. Their films have been exhibited at venues and festivals such as the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, the Milwaukee Film Festival, and the Chicago Underground Film Festival.


Instagram: @jaycekolinski

For more information about Milwaukee River Greenway, click here. This residency is sponsored by River Revitalization Foundation.

This is the latest in our series of featured artists, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. The work of the 2019-2020 ARTservancy artists in residence is currently being exhibited monthly at Gallery 224. To meet the other ARTservancy artists in residence, click here.

River Revitalization Foundation is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.

All images courtesy of the artist, except as noted.