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 2020
Comfort and Community: Wisconsin Food Traditions
$500 to FOLKLORE VILLAGE
WH grant funds go to a workshop exploring food as a source of comfort and belonging in Iowa County. It will be led by a Ho-Chunk tradition bearer and chef, as well as a folklorist who specializes in foodways. There will be a particular emphasis on Native foodways in Wisconsin. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Collegeland: A podcast featuring untold stories from higher ed
$2,000 to UW-MADISON’S DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY
The first season of the podcast “Collegeland” tells the stories of the working people who sustain university life. Episodes feature interviews with people working at campuses across the country and other stories about higher education. The goal of the podcast is to illustrate the important role the campus serves in their larger communities.
Maritime Lighthouse Tower Humanities Advisors
$2,000 to DOOR COUNTY MARITIME MUSEUM & LIGHTHOUSE PRESERVATION SOCIETY
WH grant funds allow the staff to work with additional humanities experts to guide development of the themes of new exhibits in the new Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay. This planning grant will ensure that the project provides educational, cultural, and inspirational experiences to the community and visitors.
The Metcalfe Park Decameron Project
$2,000 to METCALFE PARK COMMUNITY BRIDGES
This Milwaukee County project explores Giovanni Boccaccio’s “The Decameron” – a tale of youth resilience that is framed by the catastrophic 14th century bubonic plague. Young adult participants in the project will virtually flee their own personal misery of COVID-19, using Zoom to meet and create works of comedy and tragedy, luck and good fortune, love and loss, and wit and intelligence, and examine Boccaccio’s famous quote, “To have compassion for those who suffer is a human quality which everyone should possess, especially those who have required comfort themselves in the past and have managed to find it in others.”
Talking Spirits XXII: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour
$2,000 to WISCONSIN VETERANS MUSEUM
This Mini Grant enabled the creation of a virtual version of the annual living history program popular with school groups and families. The virtual tour offers four vignettes that unpack myths and realities of local history through the characters of four historic figures who come from different ethnicities, genders, and perspectives.
Racial Justice and Cultural Awareness Programming
$2,000 to SIENA RETREAT CENTER
This Racine County organization will offer a variety of programming focused on racial justice and cultural awareness. A series of talks will occur online, and in person when possible, including discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the experiences of Native American, Black, and Japanese internees during World War II and more. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Finding Voice and Building Community in the Slinger Area
$2,000 to SLINGER HIGH SCHOOL
Students from this Washington County school district will examine the factors that create opportunities for people to find their voice and build community. Students will gather information about the school community and organizations in the broader Slinger area. Particular attention will be paid to how people meet their needs for a sense of community in a pandemic. The project culminates in a community celebration of history and culture.
“Stories of Service” Veterans Oral History Project
$2,000 to CITY OF NEW RICHMOND
The goal of this project was to open intergenerational discussion about our country’s conflicts and those who served their country and return to civilian life. The city planned to install interpretive trail signage along a walking trail in a city park, featuring photos and interview excerpts from local veterans. Local volunteers would have been trained in oral history collection as part of the project. Unfortunately this project was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Middle Eastern Cultural Programming and Festival in the Fox Valley
This program will use the production of “The Band’s Visit,” which explores music and cultures in Egypt and Israel, as an opportunity to gain understanding about Middle Eastern cultures with community book discussions, talks and the showing of a documentary. This organization is new to Wisconsin Humanities grants and we look forward to working with them! This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Sadly, cancellation of events due to the pandemic, forced the organization to decline the grant.
Votes for Women! 2020 Cultural Conference
$1,952 to LUXEMBOURG CULTURAL SOCIETY AND CENTER
This project aims to place the suffrage movement in Wisconsin in the context with what was happening at the same time in Europe. This organization is new to Wisconsin Humanities grants and we look forward to working with them!
Refugees in Wisconsin: A Community Conversation
$2,000 to UW-SUPERIOR
Our former ShopTalk speaker Khalil “Haji” Dokhanchi expanded his discussion of refugees with a program to engage with K-12 teachers in several communities across the state in a discussion of the legal definition of refugees and migrants and their experiences, and introduce teachers to children’s books by and about refugees and migrants. Unfortunately, this project was cancelled due to COVID-19.
2020 Regional Community Read of “Waking Up White”
$2,000 to LA CROSSE PUBLIC LIBRARY
This regional reading program creates venues for this predominantly white community to explore the origins of biases and gain awareness and empathy for the lived experiences of Americans of different backgrounds. The project builds on ongoing community work on issues of racism. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
3rd Annual Native Art Marketplace
$2,000 to MOUNT HOREB AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Funds will be used to expand and enhance the museum’s annual Native Art Marketplace in collaboration with Little Eagle Arts Foundation to celebrate and showcase the art and culture of Wisconsin’s indigenous peoples. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
What’s Sex (Gender, Race, Place, Love) Got to Do with It?
$862 to UW-EAU CLAIRE RUTH FOSTER GALLERY
A panel and Q&A as part of the Midwest Queertivities exhibit of visual and written artworks at the Ruth Foster Gallery at UW-Eau Claire will help participants explore the ways that a Midwestern regional affiliation intersects with affective identities.
Tracing Our Paths: Neenah's Immigration Story
$2,000 to NEENAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The exhibit will explore the contributions of Neenah’s immigrants, from its earliest settlers to present-day refugees. This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' focus on race and ethnicity.
Auto Tour of the Northwest Sands: A Journey of People, Place, History, and Culture
$2,000 to FRIENDS OF THE BIRD SANCTUARY
The group is gathering stories, histories, and insights into the landscapes of Douglas, Bayfield, Burnett, and Washburn counties to create a driving tour. The tour will trace historic trails first created by Native Americans and followed by fur traders, missionaries, lumbermen, and pioneers.
"Pretty Good News" Community Engagement Broadcasts
$1,960 to WISCONSIN MARITIME MUSEUM (MANITOWOC)
The museum will continue a series of quirky YouTube segments, called “Pretty Good News,” that began when the pandemic forced the museum’s closure. The short segments housed on its YouTube channel combine history, local humor, and insights into the collection.
"Teen Night" Workshops that Foster Creative and Intellectual Development
Teenagers in Two Rivers will have the opportunity to creatively connect with the world around them using historic and modern bookmaking and letterpress techniques.
East Side Commercial Historic District Walking Tour and Lecture
$2,000 to HISTORIC MILWAUKEE, INC.
The East Side Commercial Historic District in Milwaukee contains some of the oldest buildings in the city, with 44 listed on the historic register. Historic Milwaukee will develop a self-guided walking tour and lecture that explore the city’s history, from Native residents and trading posts to the financial district.
$1,960 to FRIENDS OF SCHUMACHER FARM PARK (WAUNAKEE)
Sadly, the cancellation of the festival due to COVID-19 forced them to decline the grant. We hope the festival can return next year.
Major Grants Awarded in 2020
READ (Reading Experiences for Amish/Old Order Mennonites provided by D.R. Moon Memorial Library/Stanley Public Library)
This project will bring books to Amish/Old Order Mennonite schools in Chippewa, Clark and Eau Claire counties that lack easy access to library services. About 30-40 books for grade levels 1-8 will be distributed monthly. Librarians will work with the schools to develop appropriate discussion of the content, create peer reading circles, and provide other methods for engaging young readers. This project is supported, in part, by the William A. Wenninger Endowment.
$10,000 to LAKE SUPERIOR BIGTOP CHAUTAUQUA
This Bayfield County project funds the creation and production of a historically accurate, well-researched, and entertaining original musical about the Anishinaabe people. The project involves extensive collaboration with local Native American artists and culture keepers to tell the real stories of the First Peoples' legends and their interactions with White settlers and the government they eventually created here. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity with funds from the Mary H. Rice Foundation.
Wisconsin Wednesdays at the Wisconsin Book Festival
$5,050 to MADISON PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION
A partnership between the Wisconsin Book Festival and UW- Madison’s Program for Creative Writing will present a dedicated virtual event series featuring Wisconsin authors. These virtual events featuring Creative Writing alumni who have recently published poetry and fiction books gives Wisconsin authors an established platform and connects them with a wider audience.
Roots of Democracy
This series of online discussions in 2021 delves into the cultural and philosophical roots of American democracy. From the ancient Athenian democracy to the influence of Native American governing systems, scholars and experts from a range of disciplines—classics, ethics, political science, American Indian studies, and law – will offer conversational presentations. Discussions will explore questions about rights, responsibilities, participation, the tensions between social good and individual freedom, and justice, and invite ideas about how we can forge a “more perfect” union as we move forward.
Visiting Artist Program for Cultural Community Engagement
$10,000 to HAMILTON WOODTYPE AND PRINTING MUSEUM
This Manitowoc County museum has an historic Enquirer and Globe collection that consists of carved wood and cast metal blocks that letterpress printers used to make large poster and billboard sized prints. Visiting artists will create works using these historic artifacts within a modern cultural context. The collection and the programming provides opportunities for discussions about representation and avenues for community engagement and dialogue. This project supports our focus on race and ethnicity.
History of Waukesha in 100 Objects, a physical & virtual exhibition celebrating 125 years of the City of Waukesha
In honor of the city of Waukesha’s 125th anniversary in 2021, this project will provide visitors the chance to engage with the many stories of Waukesha. A physical and online exhibit will feature a selection of 100 objects from the archival and artifact collections held by the museum. The website will solicit community engagement through uploaded object submissions that connect with the city’s history.
Building Anti-Racist White Educators (BAR WE) in the Greater Green Bay Area
$9,650 to YWCA GREEN BAY-DEPERE
"What does it mean for a teacher to practice and integrate active antiracist teaching practices?" This project provides a professional learning model and educational opportunities for teachers seeking to combat inherent implicit bias that disproportionately impacts students of color. The goal is to help teachers become active, antiracist educators who can advocate for and support families from different cultures, ethnic communities, and socioeconomic status so that students thrive both in and out of the classroom. This project supports our focus on race and ethnicity.
Finding Common Ground with THE QUEST FOR SOLOMON'S TREASURE and its companion guide
$2,130 to FIRST STAGE
Staged as an online fictional treasure hunt to explore Milwaukee history, this interactive game invites visitors to solve a mystery while they are learning history and meeting curriculum standards for grades 3-8. It includes a supporting companion guide that is historically accurate and culturally inclusive.
Finding Loren: A Warrior’s Story
$9,750 to MILWAUKEE FILM
A new documentary from Milwaukee Film tells the story of Lt. Loren Hintz, a World War II fighter pilot shot down and killed near Bologna, Italy in 1945. It was days before the end of the war in Europe. The mission to find and recover his remains has been taken up by his family, Italian aviators and amateur archaeologists.
Music of the North
$10,000 to to CHIPPEWA VALLEY MUSEUM (EAU CLAIRE)
Eau Claire has laid claim to the identity of “Music City.” Working with community partners, the Chippewa Valley Museum will produce “Music of the North,” a 15-minute Object Theater show in its Farmhouse Theater that explores music in everyday life. This project will provide a deeper, more inclusive history of local music and help student and local resident audiences make connections between music heritage, local history, regional identity, and each other.
Meeme Poll House Exhibit
$4,400 to MANITOWOC COUNTY HISTORICAL SOIETY
The Meeme Poll House, recently relocated to the Pinecrest Historical Village run by the Manitowoc Historical Society, will host a new exhibit focused on the historic struggles for the right to vote. The exhibit will help visiting youth connect the stories of past elections to issues of the present day.
“We Were There-Korea”
Wisconsin Humanities is proud to again support a Highground traveling exhibit that collects the personal pictures, stories, and experiences of veterans. This time the focus is Korea. The exhibit will include era-specific uniforms and memorabilia, music, and, eventually, personal veteran interviews on DVDs.
$6,720 to NORSKEDALEN
This project will build an audio-based oral history that visitors can tune into to hear the story of the physical moving of the many historic buildings and the people who moved them: where they came from, how the buildings were de-assembled, transported, reassembled, and all the challenges and obstacles that were faced in this process.
Nature of Culture: Come Grow with Us!
$10,000 to NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE OF MILWAUKEE
This project is a dynamic initiative for low income Milwaukee youth focused on historical and artistic exploration of culture in Milwaukee from 1945-2020. The project will engage children in activities that examine arts and culture over time, how people have used the arts to express positive and challenging aspects of community, and how cultures influence artistic expression. Children learn about key visual art styles such as abstract art, graffiti and pop art, as well as musical genres like jazz, blues and Latin music, and popular dance forms like the cakewalk, tap and hip hop.
UntitledTown Book and Author Festival 2020
$10,000 to UNTITLEDTOWN
Sadly, cancellation of the festival due to the pandemic forced the organization to decline the grant
Recalling Milwaukee’s Socialist History
$8,000 to MILWAUKEE PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION
With the Democratic National Convention (DNC) convention in Milwaukee in 2020, interest has increased in Milwaukee’s unique local history as the largest city governed for four decades, and well into the twentieth century, by three mayors identified as socialists. Utilizing the library’s vast archive collection for its Socialist mayors, the library will design, create and facilitate a multi-media exhibit. This organization is new to Wisconsin Humanities grants and we look forward to working with them!
Shakespeare in the State Parks – “The Winter’s Tale”
$10,000 to SUMMIT PLAYER’S THEATRE (MILWAUKEE)
We’ve been proud to support this non-profit traveling theater company, which produces free workshops and performances in the Wisconsin State Parks. This season will include newly updated curriculum that relates the plot and characters of the play to its outdoor setting and the works of Shakespeare as a whole. Workshops take place prior to each performance free of charge for park patrons 25 times in 24 state parks and state forests around Wisconsin between June 13 and August 23, 2020.
Due to the pandemic this project is on hold for 2020 and will be performed in 2021
“Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics” Exhibition, Programs and Catalog
$9,360 to MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART (WEST BEND)
This exhibition includes hand-drawn comic originals, spanning the late 1960s to the present, representing sixteen artists. The exhibition will be hosted in two locations: MOWA’s West Bend home and MOWA/DTN, the new outpost located in Saint Kate the Arts Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Because the exhibition will coincide with the Democratic National Convention, the MOWA/DTN component will focus on the relationship between comics and politics. The West Bend component will explore the legacy of Kitchen Sink Press — Wisconsin’s most significant comics publisher.
Project Community CARE (Collaboration Around Race and Equity)
$10,000 to MILWAUKEE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
This grant will support numerous opportunities for all members of the community to talk about race. Book talks, film screenings, spoken word, and other approaches will create “brave spaces” for uncomfortable conversations. This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' focus on race and ethnicity.
Art Start Portrait Project
$10,000 to ART START
‘The Art Start Portrait Project’ provides a safe space for young men from historically marginalized communities to contemplate, share, and express the complex narratives of their identities, and create visions of their present and future that affirm how they see themselves and how they want to be seen by others. This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' focus on race and ethnicity.
Conversations During Times of Social Distancing: Climates of Inequality exhibition in Milwaukee
Online conversations across cultural and geographic divides will focus on struggles against food and housing insecurities in Milwaukee’s underserved communities. With the grant, students will document these histories of resilience and resistance in an online exhibition. This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' focus on race and ethnicity.
The Land Remembers
$10,000 to THE WORMFARM INSTITUTE (REEDSBURG)
This year, virtual conversations about our relationships with land, food, and the urban/rural divide will augment the annual Fermentation Fest DTour. Visitors traveling through 50 miles of Sauk County countryside will gain a striking variety of perspectives from those who live on the land.
"Merely Players"- Shakespearean Education for People with Disabilities
“Merely Players - Shakespearean Education for People with Disabilities” provides an inclusive theater experience for people with disabilities in Waukesha County. The grant will help participants improve in communications, presentation, and performing skills through workshops conducted by Optimist Theatre.
The Big Dig 2020
$5,278 to CROSSROADS AT BIG CREEK (DOOR COUNTY)
Middle schoolers will get a hands-on archaeological experience while learning about the landscapes of the past and present. This grant, with funds from the William A. Wenninger Endowment, helps to build a new collaborative exploration of the Hans Hanson House historic site.
Of Time and Place: Expanding the River Bend Trail
$9,811 to T.B. SCOTT FREE LIBRARY
Like many rural communities in Wisconsin, Merrill is eager to reimagine its identity as its industries and populations shift. This multi-year project includes multiple partners to help the city redefine itself in light of its history and cultural heritage. With this grant the community will collect oral histories and develop a story map, walking tour, and school curriculum.
The Edu-C-Arte Education and Cultural Exchange Program
$10,000 to LATINO ARTS, INC.
This grant goes to help students and teachers gain deep cultural appreciation and understanding for traditions from Latin America and the Caribbean. The project will also offer cultural experiences to adults, families, and the elderly. This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' focus on race and ethnicity.
Out of the Picture
$10,000 to MILWAUKEE FILM
Milwaukee-based Artspeak Media will screen an independent documentary film about art critics who are living through a period of historic transformation of both media and art. The film provokes questions about our collective relationship to art and will be used to generate conversation after the screenings.