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!
Major Grants Awarded in 2022
Living WITH the Northwoods
$9,732 to THE WAREHOUSE EAGLE RIVER ARTS CENTER
A grant from Wisconsin Humanities supports the making of a documentary film that chronicles a collaborative project between a community arts center and members of the Lac du Flambeau Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa. This project explores the question, “What does it mean to live WITH the Northwoods?” The Indigenous and non-native community is gathering sustainable materials from local Northwoods forests to build a summer wigwam on the grounds of the arts center. In the process of building, participants will be led in discussions of history, culture, and tradition with Native community members, master artists, naturalists, biologists, writers and teachers. In addition to the film, an exhibit called “Wiigwass: Birchbark Art of the Anishinaabeg” and additional programming will promote further reflection for participants and visitors.
Native Voices in Climate Resilience
The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters recognizes that truly meaningful and transformative discussions of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience must include leadership and participation by Native people. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities supports stipends and scholarships for Native conference leaders, contributors, and participants, as well as presentations of Native cultural traditions related to climate change resilience, at the 2022 environmental conference, Climate Fast Forward (CFF). There will be opportunities for dialogue between Tribal members and non-Native conference-goers on the intersections of climate change mitigation, Indigenous sovereignty, and community-centered approaches to sustainability.
Pleasant Ridge History Making Project
$10,000 to WISCONSIN HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
A Wisconsin Humanities grant supports the planning work needed to reconceptualize an exhibit at Old World Wisconsin focused on a historical Black community that existed in southwestern Wisconsin from 1850 through the early 20th century. Funds go to support Wisconsin Historical Society’s collaboration with community partners, as well as organizational consultants and external humanities experts. They will develop interpretive themes for the new Pleasant Ridge exhibit that reflect community perspectives and model inclusive living history practice.
$5,000 to HISTORIC MILWAUKEE, INC.
A Wisconsin Humanities grant supports the development of a walking and biking tour based on
research completed by students at Marquette University’s Indigeneity Lab. The tours will be available on Historic Milwaukee, Inc.’s free app and will show what Milwaukee looked like before white settlement began, the interactions between Indigenous and white communities in the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries, the colonialism and violence of these interactions, as well as the Indigenous communities that call Milwaukee home today.
Story Experience Project – Milwaukee
$10,000 to MILWAUKEE TURNERS
The Story Experience Project is exploring the role stories have in strengthening one’s sense of belonging and reducing isolation. Built as a collaboration between two academic humanities centers and a cluster of Milwaukee organizations serving older adults, people with disabilities and other underserved communities, the project looks to a foster understanding across differences such as economic, racial, cultural, physical/cognitive and generational. A Wisconsin Humanities grant is being used to support the process of creating a unique and sustainable storytelling program.
Exploring Native American Cultures and Lived Experiences in Wisconsin: past, present, and future
$8,707.00 to UW-MILWAUKEE
A Wisconsin Humanities grant supports the planning work needed to re-conceptualize an exhibit at Old World Wisconsin focused on a historical Black community that existed in southwestern WI from 1850 through the early 20th century. Funds go to support Wisconsin Historical Society’s collaboration with community partners, as well as organizational consultants and external humanities experts. They will develop interpretive themes for the new Pleasant Ridge exhibit that reflect community perspectives and model inclusive living history practice.
The Inaugural Midwest Viking Festival at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
$10,000 to UW-GREEN BAY
The Midwest Viking Festival received a Wisconsin Humanities grant in support their two-day living history experience from September 23-24, 2022 on the grounds of a replica Viking house. Forty Viking artists will build an encampment, where they will demonstrate folk arts, tell stories, sing, and perform mock battles. The first day of the festival will welcome school groups in addition to the general public. Visitors are welcome to speak with the historical interpreters as they demonstrate weaving, carving, blacksmithing, silver-working, flax processing, dying wool with natural dyes, and Viking cookery in a clay oven and over an open fire.
Three Exhibitions by Native American Artists
$10,000 to MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART
A grant from Wisconsin Humanities supports three major exhibitions by Native American artists living and working in Wisconsin in the summer of 2022. The exhibitions examine the artwork and voices of artists Tom Jones, Tom Antell, and Sky Hopinka. Their singular experience as Indigenous Americans will be highlighted within the context of contemporary canons of art. Programs featuring discussions with scholars, artists, members of the Native community, and other humanities experts will complement the exhibits, as well as an exhibition catalog with original essays by art historians and Native. One of the essays will be in the Ho-Chunk language.in the context of contemporary canons of art while highlighting their singular experience as Indigenous Americans and reflecting on their tribes’ ancestral connections to the land. A calendar of programs featuring discussions with scholars, artists, members of the Native community, and other humanities experts will compliment the exhibits, as well as exhibition catalog with original essays by art historians and Native. One of the essays will be in the Ho-Chunk language.
Our Story Continues: Help Write the Next Chapter for an Enhanced Discovery Center at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve
$10,000 to KICKAPOO RESERVE MANAGEMENT BOARD
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is a tract of public land with a unique history in southwestern Wisconsin. As part of a complete upgrade of exhibits in the Visitor Center, this grant will contribute to a new exploration of Ho-Chunk culture and relationship with the landscape. Through interactive exhibits, visitors will also learn about the unique management relationship KVR has with the Ho-Chunk Nation and the designation of the property as the Upper Kickapoo Archeological District in the National Register of Historic Places. Funding for this grant comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ A More Perfect Union initiative. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Humanities Outreach at Crossroads’ Ida Bay Preserve
$8,859 to CROSSROADS AT BIG CREEK
During 2022, Crossroads at Big Creek will use a Wisconsin Humanities grant to offer a variety of programs, including new printed maps, educational experiences for school groups, and an event celebrating the new trail on the property. Using the findings of several years of archaeological surveys and research, the new map and historical markers will share stories of the land and the people who have lived on it. Programs on site will feature opportunities to interact with professional archaeologists and historians. Funding for this grant comes the National Endowment for the Humanities’ A More Perfect Union initiative.
Fox Cities Reads 2022: Indigenous Voices
$10,000 to FOX CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL
Fox Cities Reads spring program will focus on two novels, “There There” by Tommy Orange and “Apple in the Middle” by Dawn Quigley. These stories were selected to provide the community an opportunity to explore American history and culture from different perspectives. This grant goes to support events with the authors as well as with local Indigenous storytellers, poets, musicians, and dancers. Funding for this grant comes the National Endowment for the Humanities’ A More Perfect Union initiative. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
2022 Production of Voices of Gun Violence: Resolute, Resilient, Revolutionary
$10,000 to BLACK ARTS MKE
Milwaukee Voices of Gun Violence brings attention to the complex and often unheard narratives of the individuals, families, and communities impacted by gun violence. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities will support a public performance that uses narrative and visual arts to expand the public’s understandings of gun violence in cities like Milwaukee. Audience members will be invited to participate in a talkback immediately following the performance. The talkback panel will include a member of the cast, the stage director, and representatives from the collaborating partners, including Bronzeville Arts Ensemble, Mother's Against Gun Violence and UWM Art, Dance, Film and Theater Departments.
Cia Siab (Hope) in Wisconsin: A HMoob (Hmong) Story
$10,000 to UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN OSHKOSH
Cia Siab (Hope) in Wisconsin: A HMoob (Hmong) Story is a traveling exhibit that will launch in 2025 to celebrate the 50th year of Hmong resettlement in the U.S. This community-based project brings together Hmong community members, humanities scholars, and museum experts to create an immersive experience for viewers. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities will support work in five cities with large Hmong populations: Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau. By featuring cultural artifacts and oral histories that illustrate the historical trauma and resilience of Wisconsin’s Hmong communities, particularly of Hmong women, youth, elders, and LGBTQ individuals, the project aims to foster intergenerational and cross-cultural connection, empathy, and dialogue. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Shakespeare in the State Parks - Much Ado About Nothing
$10,000 to SUMMIT PLAYERS THEATRE
In the summer of 2022, Summit Players Theatre will perform ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at 23 state parks across Wisconsin. The Shakespeare in the State Parks project uses theater as an accessible, family-friendly way for people of all ages to learn more about language, communication, and theater while providing a free open-air experience. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities supports the pre-performance workshop called "Inside Shakespeare's Story." The workshop uses interactive exercises and role-playing activities to help illuminate the story, the characters, and the motivations behind the actions of the play. Funding for this grant comes the William A. Wenninger Endowment.
Harvest Folk Festival
$9,999 to ALLEN CENTENNIAL GARDEN AT UW-MADISON
In October 2022, Allen Centennial Garden on the UW-Madison campus will come alive with a Harvest Festival celebration that showcases diverse cultural harvest traditions from around the world. This one-day event for the public will feature a main stage with music, dancing, and storytelling from American Indian, HMoob, African American, Jewish, and European cultures. This grant supports activities at the festival that highlight relationships -- with our heritage, our neighbors, and the natural work -- including hands-on gardening, opportunities for reflection, and presentations from students about harvest traditions of different cultures. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Art Against the Odds: Wisconsin Prison Art Exhibition
$10,000 to FEAST OF CRISPIAN, INC
Art Against the Odds is an exhibition of artwork from 30 currently incarcerated individuals in Wisconsin. These artists have found creative ways to express that they exist beyond the terms of their crime, their fingerprints, or their mug shots. From January through March 2023, the exhibit will be on view at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and then will then tour to other state venues. This grant supports this collaborative effort, which recognizes a need for incarcerated individuals to have access to a wide audience.
Growing Older in Waushara County – A Study in Aging in Rural Wisconsin
$9,625 to WAUSHARA COUNTY FOOD PANTRY, INC
“Growing Older in Waushara County” is a community awareness project to highlight the challenges and benefits of growing older in a rural area where a quarter of the population is over the age of 65. With support from Wisconsin Humanities, the project director will talk with older adults and community leaders throughout the spring of 2022. Community forums about the issues and how to respond will be based on this initial research phase.
Sadly, this organization had to cancel the grant due to circumstances beyond its control.
Mini Grants Awarded in 2022
Sharing the Unique History of Big Top Chautauqua
$2,000 to LAKE SUPERIOR BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
Since 1986, Big Top Chautauqua has presented between 40 and 60 events each summer in Wisconsin's sparsely populated Northwoods. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities goes to help share the history of this unique and popular performance space. They will create interpretive panels and displays for a newly renovated event space and organizational facility.
Opera Industry Experts Teach and Coach Kenosha Opera Festival Fellows
$2,000 to KENOSHA OPERA FESTIVAL
The Kenosha Opera Festival Fellowship Program is providing a unique opportunity for four Wisconsin-based performers to learn from an experienced professional. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities supports the fellows' program, which explores the historical and cultural traditions of the opera, and how modern performers create artistic interpretations for general audiences.
Bias Inside Us Exhibit
$2,000 to CONFLUENCE COUNCIL, INC
"The Bias Inside Us” is an exhibition and community engagement project that explores the social science, psychology, and consequences of implicit bias and invites people to challenge bias in the world through self-awareness. A grant from Wisconsin Humanities supports the collaboration between Pablo Center at the Confluence, the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and the Eau Claire Area School District to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Chippewa Valley. The traveling exhibit, produced by the Smithsonian Institution, focuses on civic learning and democratic engagement to affirm and elevate the experiences of people from all backgrounds and cultures. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
A Day in the Life Photo Essay: Wisconsin School Nurses and the COVID-19 Pandemic
$1,993 to WISCONSIN NURSES ASSOCIATION
The goal of this project is to celebrate the history of school nursing and honor the role that school nurses have played to support the health and education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through images and words, this exhibit will provide the public with a better understanding of the physical and emotional toll the pandemic has had on medical professionals. This grant supports the collection of photos and interviews to create a rich portrait of the public health workers who keep our communities healthy and safe.