We fund humanities-based activities and conversations that address what matters in our communities. We support projects across the state and yours could be next!
Mini Grants Awarded in 2015
$1,995 to CIVICS IN WISCONSIN
In winter and spring 2016, upper elementary, middle school, and high school students, as well as youth groups, will participate in this acclaimed civic education program. The project will include teachers’ workshops in Madison and local showcases of student projects in Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Monroe. The state showcase will be held in Madison in April.
Let’s Talk Presidential Elections: Looking Back
$1,603 to NEW BERLIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
From March to May during the presidential election year 2016, participants in this free series of nonfiction book discussions and presentations will explore past presidential elections and issues. Humanities experts will facilitate the conversations and emphasize Wisconsin’s electoral history. All events will be held at the public library in New Berlin.
2016 Winter History Festival
$1,000 to WASHBURN HERITAGE ASSOCIATION
Partnering with the Washburn Area Historical Society, the Washburn Heritage Association will present a series of four lectures featuring regional topics presented by local historians. The programs will be held on Tuesdays at StageNorth Theatre in Washburn in January and February, 2016. This award was made possible with funds from the MAHADH Fund of the HRK Foundation.
Lake Sturgeon: Shaping a Culture
$1,998 to CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF FOND DU LAC
In February and March 2016, this series of hands-on programs at the museum will introduce children 3 – 12 years old to the history and culture of these rare, locally significant fish, while inviting the community to share stories and build knowledge about the creature’s unique existence and preservation.
ARTi Gras 2016
$2,000 to WISCONSIN RAPIDS COMMUNITY THEATRE
In March 2016, this ten-day celebration of arts and culture will take place in four central Wisconsin communities: Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Port Edwards, and Amherst. Events will be held at 7 different locations and will include a historical/culture panel, a poetry slam, and an exhibit of historical posters.
Works of Nature-Waterworks
$2,000 to FRIENDS OF HUNT HILL AUDUBON SANCTUARY
Focusing on the natural features of the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary outside Sarona, this Working Lives project will expand the Sanctuary’s current environmental education programming by linking local waterways with the history of migration, industry, environmental activism, and work. This award was made possible with funds from the MAHADH Fund and Mary H. Rice Foundation of the HRK Foundation.
Color-Brave Community Read: Between the World and Me
$1,946 to FIT OSHKOSH
This series of twice monthly reading events will take place from January to June, 2016. Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book Between the World and Me, participants will begin creating a new narrative about race in the city of Oshkosh.
Abraham and Mary Lincoln: Their World of Spiritualism and Mystery
Developed in response to requests for programs about the Civil War era, this series of four presentations in October will explore the role that Spiritualism played in the lives of the Lincolns. Presenter Steven Rogstad will describe their psychologies of death, dreams and omens, ghosts, paranormal events, and other topics. Programs will take place at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum in Sheboygan.
Lorine Niedecker Wisconsin Poetry Festival
On October 16 and 17, Fort Atkinson will again host this annual festival that celebrates the community’s famous poet, Wisconsin poets, and poetry in general. Free readings, Niedecker exhibits and archive materials at the Hoard Museum and the Dwight Foster Public Library, lectures, and round-table discussions will explore the impact of place, shared Wisconsin experiences, and the politics and culture of poets and poetry.
Chekov Play Reading Series
$2,000 to WISCONSIN RAPIDS COMMUNITY THEATRE
From January to April 2016, the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre will offer its first lecture and play reading series of the five full-length plays of Anton Chekov. The five free events will begin with lectures by humanities expert Cathy Meils focusing on specific topics, including Russian society, Russian history, Russian theatrical literature, and Chekov’s biography. The series complements the production of the Tony-award winning play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” scheduled for May 2016.
As part of the inaugural Booktoberfest, novelist Ashley Weaver will conduct seminars at Greendale High School on October 16 and will make a free, public presentation at the Greendale Community Learning Center on the evening of October 17.
The Holocaust in Global Perspective
In October 2015 and January 2016, humanities scholars will present two public lectures and facilitate a book discussion focusing on Argentina’s connection to the Holocaust. The events are part of a new educational series that will explore Holocaust memory and history in different countries. These programs complement the exhibit “Southern Exposure: The Jews of Argentina,” featured at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, a project partner, from October to January.
Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books
Held at UW-Waukesha November 6-7, the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books is a free, intergenerational community celebration of literacy and the arts. The 2015 theme, “Words for a Lifetime,” will embrace the works that stay with us and those that change as we change. Milwaukee-based poet Dasha Kelly and nonfiction writer Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff will make keynote presentations.
A Salute to Freedom: 1865, Homeward Bound
$1,635 to THE CIVIL WAR MUSEUM
This living history event at the HarborMarket in Kenosha on Saturday, June 13, will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Music, demonstrations, and a vintage baseball game presented by collaborating partners will provide visitors with an experience similar to that of soldiers returning home to the Upper Middle West. All events are free and open to the public.
Lebel Skiff Boatbuilding
$2,000 to BAYFIELD MARITIME MUSEUM
In this series of presentations on Wednesday mornings in June and July, a professional boat builder and former commercial fisherman will discuss how a flat-bottomed skiff was made and used locally . The presentations complement the museum’s ongoing efforts to build a replica of the Cubby Lebel skiff. This award was made possible with funds from the MAHADH Fund of the HRK Foundation.
Talking Spirits XVII: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour
$2,000 to WISCONSIN VETERANS MUSEUM FOUNDATION
This October, Madison’s Forest Hill Cemetery will come alive with this award-winning program about the Civil War. Inspired by the lives of diverse individuals buried in the cemetery, four vignettes will highlight different perspectives on the war for over 1500 school children and the general public.
A Tapestry of Jewish Film: Free Jewish Film Classes
Beginning this September, this series of twenty-four film screenings and discussions will explore films, documentaries, and television shows that cover a range of Judaic topics. Some events are co-sponsored by The Israel Center of the Milwuakee Jewish Federation and The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center. Events are free and open to the public and all screened media will be available on loan from the Center’s library.
Northwest Wisconsin Writers’ Festival
In August, this two-day event at UW-Barron County in Rice Lake will bring together people throughout northwest Wisconsin for discussions and readings aimed at creating a literary landscape in the region. The keynote author event on Friday, August 14, will feature Marnie Mamminga and Nickolas Butler. This award was made possible with funds from the MAHADH Fund of the HRK Foundation.
Madison Story Project: Postcard Heroes
$2,000 to THE MADISON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
Youth throughout the Madison area will have the opportunity to tell their stories this summer. Guided by workshops at the museum and the Madison Public Library, young people will reflect on the question of neighborhood heroes, creating their answers on postcards that will then be scanned and become part of the project’s website.
When Neenah Came Marching Home
$2,000 to NEENAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Marking the sesquicentennial of the conclusion of the Civil War, “When Neenah Came Marching Home” opens in May. The exhibit draws on local primary sources including letters, artifacts, and diaries to tell the story of Neenah and its citizens during the war and to explore how they were part of the national narrative about the war. Project partners include the City of Neenah, the Neenah Joint School District, UW-Oshkosh, and UW-Fox Valley.
$1,500 to CIVICS IN WISCONSIN
In this civic education program, teams of pre-college students identify a public policy problem in their school or community, research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solutions, and create a plan to solve the problem. Teams present their plans to judges at local showcases in southeast Wisconsin in April, with winners advancing to the Project Citizen State Showcase in Madison on May 2.
The Collages of Miriam Beerman: Exhibition and Public Programs
$2,000 to LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY
Throughout September and October, this exhibit showcases the collages of Miriam Beerman, a prolific Jewish American painter and mixed-media artist whose work reveals deep emotional responsiveness to the tragedies of the human experience–historical, modern, and personal. Related programs that explore the exhibit’s themes include a documentary film screening, a discussion with experts on aging and memory, and a panel on women and artistic expression. Project partners include the Trout Museum of Art and the Appleton Public Library.
A League of Her Own: Joyce Westerman and Women’s Baseball
$1,800 to JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE
This summer the Jewish Museum Milwaukee plans to collaborate with Arts@Large to deliver programs that detail the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The programs complement the exhibit “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American” that JMM is hosting from the National Museum of Jewish American History.
Waupaca BookFest Wisconsin Authors Panel
$2,000 to WAUPACA BOOKFEST
As part of the 3rd annual Waupaca BookFest, on April 18 at the Waupaca Public Library a diverse group of Wisconsin authors explores how a sense of place influences their writing, a discussion moderated by a local author. The authors will talk about their work informally at the festival’s kick-off event the night before.
The Work of Art: Exploring the Intersection of Commerce, the Arts & Life
$2,000 to TAPIT/NEW WORKS ENSEMBLE THEATER
Many people enjoy the arts, and some practice them, but few explore what it means to make a living and make a life as an artist. Part of the WHC’s Working Lives Project, this series of performances, workshops, and discussions in Madison in April and May explores the intersection of commerce, the arts, and life, leading to a more robust and thoughtful public discussion of the “work of art.”
Major Grants Awarded in 2015
Journey to the West in Wisconsin
Part of the Great World Texts program, this project will engage scholars and high school teachers and students in discussions about the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. In March and April 2016, UW-Madison faculty, staff, and graduate students will visit classrooms across the state, from Bonduel to Menomonee Falls, Elkhart Lake to Prescott. In turn, students will share their research projects about the novel at the Annual Student Conference at UW-Madison’s Union South on April 20.
Latino Americans: 500 Years of History and Culture
$7,585 to LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY
From December 2015 until April 2016, this series of public events will give the people of the Fox Cities an opportunity to examine, discuss, and celebrate the historical and cultural impact of Latino Americans. Events include a musical concert, an art exhibit, documentary screenings, children’s programming, and presentations by Lawrence faculty and additional scholars. Project partners include the Appleton Public Library, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce/Casa Hispania, and the History Museum at the Castle.
The Culture of Fusion
$10,000 to UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY
In March and April 2016, this series of Latino-themed events in Green Bay will explore how new cultural expressions–including music and cuisine–are created when diverse groups of people come into contact. Events such as concerts, film screenings, a cooking demonstration, and a presentation about sustainable food centers will encourage the community to think about how culture is constantly reshaped. Project partners include the Neville Public Museum, the Brown County Library, Casa Alba Melanie, and Scholarships, Inc.
Most Dangerous Women
$10,000 to MILWAUKEE PUBLIC THEATRE
In April 2016, free performances of this musical documentary will bring to life the stories of women throughout the world who, through courage, resilience, and tenacity, have made powerful contributions to the cause of peace. Performances will be followed by discussions with experienced humanists about the play’s themes, and a resource guide will suggest follow-up activities. Project partners include the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Marquette University Theater Department.
White Frame/Black Frame: The Hidden Roots of Racial Realities
Beginning on Founder’s Day 2016, this series of public programs in Milwaukee will explore the origins of our racially divided society. Facilitated by humanities experts, discussions will provide a safe forum for interracial thinking and dialogue about contemporary issues while supporting citizens in acquiring the prerequisites for racial repair and healing: information and empathy. Key project partners include the Milwaukee Public Library and the Cultures and Communities Program at UW-Milwaukee.
Culture Work: Narratives of Production in a “Post-Industrial” City
$10,000 to ARTWORKS FOR MILWAUKEE
A collaboration with Peck School of the Arts at UW-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee School of Engineering, this Working Lives project seeks to reframe the way people think about the history and contemporary landscape of Milwaukee. Directed by a humanities expert, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students will conduct oral histories in spring 2016 about United Migrant Opportunity Services. In the summer, they will use the documented stories to create a public mural in the city’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.
Dialogue: The Legacy of the Lunts
$10,000 to NORTHWEST WISCONSIN IN-SCHOOL TELECOMMUNICATIONS
This documentary film will examine the careers, private lives, and legacies of one of Broadway’s most storied and revered acting couples, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Ten Chimneys, their estate in Genesee Depot, was a haven for America’s leading actors from the 1920s to the 1960s. The film will be shown at film festivals in Wisconsin, broadcast on public television, and used by the Ten Chimneys Foundation as an educational tool.
Delavan’s Heritage Fest
For four days this August, Heritage Fest will showcase Delavan’s history and culture for community residents and visitors. Events for this year’s festival include a performance by the 1st Brigade Brass Band, themed tours led by local humanities experts, food presentations and sales, children’s events, and a pop-gallery of current local artists and presentations of Delavan’s old arts colony.
Untold Stories Testimonial Writing Workshop and Spring Showcase
$10,000 to MOUNT MARY UNIVERSITY
This two-part series of programs in fall 2015 and spring 2016 will focus on shaping personal testimony of survivors of sexual violence, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence. Drawing on the Voices and Faces Project, the program will include a humanities-based testimonial writing workshop for survivors and a community engagement event. Now in its third year, this year’s project will include enhanced outreach beyond Milwaukee County and efforts to document the project’s impact on social change through humanities-based training.
Facing the River: Students and Elders Celebrate Wisconsin River Cities
$7,088 to WISCONSIN MARITIME MUSEUM
This October, children and elders in three Wisconsin communities–Manitowoc, Wausau, and Prairie du Chien–will explore how their towns’ river culture developed and why it is unique and worth preserving. Storytelling, music, food, and hands-on activities will stimulate intergenerational conversations that deepen understanding of the participants’ communities along the Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Mississippi rivers. Project partners include school districts and historical societies in each host community.
Analog Photography, Looking Back and Looking Ahead
Throughout 2015 and 2016, this series of free public programs and related darkroom interactions will examine photographic processes in historical and contemporary contexts. Guest lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and workshops will inspire participants to explore the past, present, and future of the greater Port Washington area’s visual culture and reinterpret historical creative processes.
[art]ifact: where history meets art
$10,000 to LA CROSSE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
In spring 2016, the Pump House Regional Arts Center will host an exhibit that showcases locally made artifacts from the Historical Society’s permanent collection alongside new artwork inspired by the artifacts. Planned, organized, and mounted with the help of UW-La Crosse students, the exhibit will showcase the city’s historic and artistic accomplishments by highlighting past local men and women who created consumer articles and modern artists who will create original artwork in post-manufacturing La Crosse.
Risking Everything: History & Civil Conversation
This October, this series of public programs will engage diverse, cross-generational audiences throughout western Wisconsin in a conversation about the civil rights era and its lasting significance. Humanities experts will explore themes of equity, diversity, and inclusivity by connecting events in history to contemporary society. The programs build on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s traveling exhibit Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Exhibit for Students, which the library will also host in October.
Greater Together Stories
$10,000 to EX FABULA, INC.
Assembling an artistic fellowship of diverse voices with compelling personal stories to tell, this project will enable a community-led dialogue about segregation and racial inequality in Milwaukee. Participants will work with coaches to identify, structure, and polish stories, which will be shared with live audiences in winter 2015-2016 and on the Greater Together website.
Telling Stories II – Building Community
$5,515 to MADISON METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT
At Madison’s Orchard Ridge Elementary school during the 2015-2016 school year, this project will engage students academically and artistically, teach across disciplines, and encourage family involvement in school learning. Students and adult family members will attend guest artist performances and workshops that express stories through traditional and contemporary oral, written, and visual forms. Through classroom visits, families and community members will share stories about family heritage, life work, triumphs, or struggles.
Nothin’ But Nets: The Legacy of Commercial Fishing in Port Washington
$9,796 to PORT WASHINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Part of the WHC’s Working Lives Project, this exhibition and related public programs tell the story of commercial fishing in Port Washington. Based on research that includes oral histories archived at the Port Washington Historical Society Resource Center, the project explores personal stories within the broader context of the state’s work history. The exhibit opens in November 2015 and public programs follow in winter 2016.
Alash Ensemble: School Workshops and Concert
$2,500 to FOLKLORE VILLAGE
On March 17, Alash Ensemble, a group of Tuvan musicians and throat singers, performs at Folklore Village. The following day the Ensemble gives two workshops to middle and high school students in the Mount Horeb School District. Facilitated discussions after each performance offer insights into the songs and Tuvan culture, history, and poetics.
Last of the Lawsonomists
$10,000 to RACINE HERITAGE MUSEUM
This feature-length documentary presents the life of 94-year old Merle Hayden, a Racine resident and the last active member of the utopian movement Lawsonomy. Based on the teaching of Alfred Lawson, Lawsonomy foregrounds economic policies and social reform that provide “justice for everyone that harms no one.” Incorporating footage of Merle’s day-to-day life, archival footage, and other documents, the film explores the history of the movement and Merle’s dedication to it.
Heritage Days: Get Hooked on History!
$10,000 to FRIENDS OF FRED SMITH
On May 15 and 16, the Friends of Fred Smith hosts the 4th annual “Heritage Days” at Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips. The event showcases for 4th graders and the general public regional history and culture, including a special focus on heritage food traditions. In addition, a group of humanities experts will work with community partners to develop displays about regional occupations as well as to enhance local efforts to interpret regional culture.
Winter in the Blood BIG READ
$8,816 to UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-BARRON COUNTY
In March and April, UW-Barron County partners with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College to present a series of events focused on Blackfeet/Gros Ventre author James Welch’s novel Winter in the Blood. The programs bring people together in person or virtually to discuss the novel, watch a film version of the novel and discuss the film with its director, and attend readings and discussions by Oneida poet Roberta Hill and St. Croix poet Bryan Bearhart.