Once a businessperson, Linda Banning left a 15-year career in the graphic arts industry to pursue a love for creating, and bringing joy. Watch: Part 1 of Linda’s story. Visit Linda’s website to see her collection of stained glass and recycled glass jewelry. See more videos from Milwaukee Stories, Inc. Did you find value in this story? If so, please sign up to receive periodic updates. We need your help! Milwaukee Stories is a nonprofit organization that brings you the real stories of regular people. This work is supported by small, individual monthly contributions from people just like you.
After a brush with death at the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11, artist Linda Banning decided to remake her life, and she hasn’t looked back.
Charity Harvey unlocks her small studio at 231 E. Buffalo. She opens the door to a surprisingly spacious, pristine space. Walls hung with more-than-a-few full-length mirrors end at the finished wood floor, whose only interruption is a shiny fireman’s pole, skewering one side of the room, otherwise-empty except for a modest bookshelf and a handful of accoutrements. A copy of The Unteathered Soul sits unassumingly on the shelf. She says the book, which focuses on “the inner journey,” has really helped her come to terms with some of the external challenges she’s had to face. “I used to not be able to talk about my mom without getting those really tight feelings in my chest and feeling like I wanted to cry … You know, even though you wouldn’t cry, [I’d] still feel that when I’d start talking about her.”
Willie Whitehorn walks down Chicago Street in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward on a cloudy afternoon toting three oversized plastic bags, filled to the brim with cans. Whitehorn, a man of modest height and weight, despite the appearance of his baggy coat, stops on the corner and stares through his sunglasses at a young woman crossing the street. Nodding in approval, Whitehorn turns and answers an un-posed inquiry matter-of-factly. “I’m a girl-watcher,” he says.
Anne Franczek canvasses the corner of Jackson and Buffalo in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward on a frigid Thursday afternoon in November. Franczek is on a mission, though it’s not the environment or politics that brings her here – she’s out to educate would-be mothers and passersby about the realities of abortion in an effort to inspire these women to change their minds. Franczek enjoys this work but it’s not for the fun – her fulfillment comes at a much deeper level. “I would say, rather than appealing, it’s compelling because babies are being killed and they need a voice,” she says, standing in front of the Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic at 302 N. Jackson. “We look at World War II and Nazi Germany and we say ‘Why did people let the Jews be killed? Why did they just turn their head and look the other way? How could they do that?’ And that’s what’s going on in America, today – and other parts of the world – is a silent holocaust where babies are being …