Mitchell Hall was the first building to be erected on the new site of the Milwaukee Normal School when it moved from 18th and Wells Streets to Downer Avenue. The north wing was added in 1912 to house the campus school and the new art school. Sometimes known as "Old Main," the building was named by UWM in 1964 for the Mitchell family, whose outstanding members were Alexander (1811-1887), a successful Wisconsin banker, politician, and Congressman; John (1842-1904), Alexander's son and a businessman, philanthropist, Congressman and U.S. Senator; and William (Billy), John's son and an army general who was a pioneer in recognizing the potential of military air power in the United States.
The building houses the Graduate School; Departments of Art and Design, Africology, Art History and Film; faculty offices for dance; and academic and administrative support offices. It also includes rehearsal spaces for theatre and dance, as well as Studio 254, a 100-seat intimate performance space that doubles as a dance teaching and rehearsal studio.
It is also the home to The New Dancemakers’ Series. Mitchell additionally includes at least six skylight-illuminated painting and drawing studio spaces.