In February 2020 Kelsey Kaufmann purchased Cactus Club, an artist-run venue and community space that she’d worked at since 2011. Kelsey is a queer musician, candle maker and advocate for inclusivity and all-ages access in music. In response to her efforts, the city of Milwaukee changed their licensing requirements last year to empower spaces to host all ages shows and events.
What are you most proud of? Tricky question. I’m proud of my crew of forward-thinking co-workers who reliably commit to holding one another accountable and organizing for a better future. Through justice-movement building, art practices and nourishing relationships, we seek to create a space we thirst for and feel safe in. Additionally, I’m wildly proud of my brilliant and resilient two nieces, Olivia and Alex.
Is there something new that you've started doing in the past 4 months? This month Cactus Club launched a pwyc patreon to support digital arts programming that includes performances, film screenings, DJ sets and workshops through our new Vimeo channel. The pandemic has forced venues around the world to adapt to this new, distanced reality. I’m tremendously excited by this experiment and humbled by responses from artists willing to learn along with us.
I also started a penpal journal with my grandma, which I’m pretty hyped about. Asking all sorts of questions about her youth, travel and perspectives.
What’s your favorite thing about Milwaukee? Lake Michigan and the public parks system are Milwaukee’s best qualities. Thankful for the city’s early socialist mayors for founding and preserving such important public access.
View upcoming events at Cactus Club here cactusclubmilwaukee.com