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Hi there, I’m Barry, and DesignGarage MKE is about the process of creating, building and making. I’m passionate about what I do and love working with other passionate people.

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A neighborhood is not a nameless, faceless WE,
but an organism formed of individuals...

I’m walking in the alley when my neighbor Mo walks by and says; “hey, Motorcycle Man, we talk about you on the block a lot, man... Want you to know, we proud of you and what you doing — keep it going, you doin it, you doing good for the hood.”

I smiled, thanked him and headed to my house — but Mo had no idea how the comment floored me. 

As I was quietly making things I envisioned in my head I didn’t know that, in fact, I was building more than just stuff. I was helping to build hope, bringing a bit of pride to a place that sometimes feels it has precious little. The zip code of 53206 has been described as “The Most Incarcerated Zip Code in America”. Stereotypes and truths around here can be disturbing and painful. But this place is not defined in a news soundbite: there are people, with dreams large and small, doing their best to be decent folk. Take care of their families, homes, neighbors. Some amazing people live here: artists of all types, inventive and handy people, thinkers and doers, and people who genuinely want to do right by the place they live. Yea, sometimes bad stuff happens here, but most of us don’t run away, even with the means to do so, because the easy way out is rarely the most rewarding.

And that’s why I stay — I choose to. I live, love, and am inspired by the ‘06 because it’s home.

Just as life is a matter, not of milestones, but of moments — so is a neighborhood not a nameless, faceless WE, but an organism formed of individuals. People can make a conscious decision to love their neighbor as themselves in the best ways: Treat their loved ones with the care they deserve, truly look out for their neighbors next door, down the street and beyond. To be unafraid and passionate about, not only your job/craft, but your hopes and dreams as well. To inspire and be inspired by others.

There’s still good in the hood. I’m proud to be a part of it.

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