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 2021
Health, Equity, and Peacebuilding
A Wisconsin Humanities grant has been awarded to support a public conference that explores the intersections of health, equity, justice, and peacebuilding. The roots of health disparities stretch back in history and are laid bare again by COVID19. A collection of public events will offer opportunities to discuss public health crisis points, including racism, economic disparity, and systemic inequalities. This conference is co-presented by The Peace & Justice Studies Association and Wisconsin Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Both organizations are rooted in interdisciplinary peace scholarship and conflict resolution practices, which will inform the conference offerings.
Sharing the Stories of the People and the Land
$2,000 to CROSSROADS AT BIG CREEK, INC
For a dozen years, Crossroads at Big Creek has sponsored archaeological digs to learn about the animals, plants, and lifeways of the people that occupied the three land preserves it manages. In its exploration, it hopes to learn more about land use and landscape both prior to and after European settlement. During the fall of 2021, Crossroads will use a Wisconsin Humanities grant to expand historical education programs by working with teachers and curriculum specialists in area schools. The findings and resources will be shared on their website, in online and in-person lectures, and through experience-based activities such as a week-long Archaeological Experience for school groups. The programs will be oriented toward students in grades 3-8.
Rights of the Child Community Forum
$2,000 to THE PHIPPS CENTER FOR THE ARTS
In early 2022, a traveling exhibition called “Doublethink: Rights of the Child” will be on view at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson. The exhibit features the work of Duluth-based artist Moira Villiard. With Wisconsin Humanities support, The Phipps is organizing a community forum to bring people together for conversations inspired by the artwork. The forum is designed to help people explore complex issues of inclusivity, diversity, and core aspects of children’s rights.
Oyotunji, North America’s Oldest Authentic Yoruba African Kingdom, performs traditional masquerade to help residents of Lindsay Heights community reflect and heal from loss
$2,000 to WALNUT WAY CONSERVATION CORP.
Walnut Way Conservation Corp. is a resident-led neighborhood organization that is committed to sustaining an economically diverse community through civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and creating venues for prosperity. For 20 years, their Harvest Day Festival has been a vibrant celebration of the sights, sounds, and tastes of Lindsay Heights, a predominately African-American neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side. As the largest family-friendly community gathering in the neighborhood, it features music, arts, food and, and other community resources. With a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, this year’s festival will feature Egbe Egungun Oyotunji, a group known internationally for their creative presentation of the traditional culture, music, visual art, and stories of the Yoruba people of West Africa. This program has been designed specifically to help Lindsay Heights residents who have been significantly affected by loss during the global pandemic.
Wisconsin Veterans Museum Talking Spirits XXIII: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour
$2,000 to WISCONSIN VETERANS MUSEUM FOUNDATION INC
Each year, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum hosts the popular Talking Spirits: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour. Wisconsin Humanities is proud to have funded this event in past years, and again for the fall 2021 event. The guided, 90-minute walking tour at Forest Hill Cemetery brings to life the site’s history by pairing informative dialogue with scripted vignettes written, directed, and performed by local artists. The characters are selected from the cemetery’s burial records and feature historic Madison residents with a connection to military service. This year’s Talking Spirits XXIII: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour has been themed “Wisconsin Women at War,” and will focus on female contributions to Wisconsin’s veteran history. The event is open to the general public and attracts school groups from all over the state.
Finding Voice and Building Community in the Slinger Area with Art, Innovation, and Design
$2,000 to SLINGER SCHOOL DISTRICT
In the 2021-2022 school year, students from Slinger High School who are taking classes in sociology and history will interview artists, designers, and innovative community leaders. The students will be researching how these working creatives have developed their unique voices and how they intentionally build community through their work. Students will produce video and audio stories that will be shared in a culminating event: the annual Slinger Area History Culture Night in May 2022. This typically multi-generational public event will focus on the most innovative ideas for building community and will offer opportunities for audience interaction.
Just Narratives: Covering Criminal Justice
$1,149 to UW-MADISON CENTER FOR JOURNALISM ETHICS
The Center for Journalism is hosting a public event to bring together experts to discuss the role of journalism in exploring inequities and injustices in the criminal justice system. What are journalists’ roles in providing background and context for the calls for change in the criminal justice system? A mini grant goes to support the event, which includes panelists Keri Blakinger, a formerly incarcerated journalist; James Causey, longtime Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter; and Keith Findley, UW–Madison professor of law and co-founder of the Innocence Project.
Her League: Women in Professional Baseball
WH funds will be used to produce an exhibit about the history of women in professional baseball, including Joyce Hill Westerman. Westerman was a Pleasant Prairie local who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1945 to 1952. It will also highlight the stories of women of color, including Toni Stone, Connie Morgan, and Mamie Johnson, who were barred from the AAGPBL, but made their mark in the professional baseball world by playing in the men's Negro Leagues.
Woodland Indian Art Show and Market
$2,000 to WOODLAND INDIAN ART, INC.
WH funds will support bringing in a Native American keynote speaker, artist, and storyteller to the Brown County festival of Woodland Indian art and culture on the theme of “Giving Thanks.” This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Learning Native American Lifeways in Northern Wisconsin, Past and Present
WH funds will support a youth camp and Native American Heritage days with cultural activities and demonstrations from members of the St. Croix and Lac Courte Oreilles bands of the Lake Superior Ojibwe. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Northeast Wisconsin Coasts Indigenous Dugout Canoe Preservation
This project is a collaboration with the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and Manitowoc County Historical Society. WH funds will help the museums build connections to specific Tribal nations from the region and bring in expertise to learn about and properly preserve four canoes in their collection.
Interpreting Teejopeja: A Planning Grant for the Capital Springs Recreation Area
The Capital Springs Recreation Area is using WH money to support the initial planning for an updated interpretive plan that contextualizes the unique cultural landscape of Teejopeja (the Ho-Chunk word for Madison's "Four Lakes" Region). The Ho-Chunk Nation will be part of the planning and execution. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Contested Cannabis: A History of Marijuana in Wisconsin and the Wider World
WH funds will support an online digital exhibit and discussion program that investigates the local history and public policy surrounding marijuana and cannabis in the state during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The project aims to explore and contextualize medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and the regulation of drugs and medicines.
Cultural Exchange Performances at Big Top Chautauqua
WH funds will enable a cultural exchange and artistic collaboration with the Trinity Irish Dancers and Native Expressions Drum and Dance troupe. It will result in public performances highlighting the culture and dance of each company. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
She Fights for the Motherland: Rewriting the History of Soviet Women Soldiers in World War II
$1,950 to FERMAT'S LAST THEATER COMPANY
Fermat’s Last Theater Company is producing “She Fights for the Motherland: Rewriting the History of Soviet Women Soldiers in World War II.” This documentary theater piece features characters and situations from history. The website will including supplementary materials and interviews with arts and humanities experts, reading lists, and web links to expand exploration of the work.
Central Wisconsin Book Festival
$1,925 to MARATHON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
The fifth annual festival in September will include about 20 events over 10 days in a variety of locales both in-person and virtual. WH funds support Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton’s appearance at the festival.
From Cheeseville to the Cheese Capital of the World
$1,500 to PLYMOUTH ART FOUNDATION
To help celebrate a new archway proclaiming Plymouth the Cheese Capital of the World, Plymouth Art Foundation, Inc. is offering a public program about the economic impact cheese had locally, regionally and nationally. Supported with a WH mini grant, the program will include interactive opportunities to see historic cheese processing tools at the Plymouth Historical Society.
Changes in Social Life After Prohibition - Schlack's Ice Cream Parlor
$1,997 to EAGLE RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Eagle River Historical Society will re-create a prohibition-era ice cream parlor as an interactive exhibit at the Depot Museum, across the street from the original 1918 parlor site. Original fixtures and objects will be supplemented with information from oral histories and family recollections for a unique immersive experience.
Strengthening Our Social Fabric: Using a Community-Wide Read to Discuss Home and Belonging
$2,000 to FRIENDS OF THE LODI PUBLIC LIBRARY
The Lodi Public Library’s community-wide read will highlight themes of home and belonging in literature. A WH mini grants will support public programs, as well as microfilm equipment that makes it possible to read archived newspapers going back to the 1870s. The speakers and events will make connections with the ways local newspapers connect communities and build a sense of home and belonging.
Unraveling the Mysteries of Indian Park and Developing a Vision for the Future
The City of Platteville Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Friends of Indian Park, are working to document the factual and speculative history of Indian Park. This WH grant will help them investigate options for non-invasive archaeological research on the site and engage the community in a dialogue about the future of the park.
Major Grants Awarded in 2021
Ancestors Buried Beneath Us
$9,996 to UW-STEVENS POINT
WH funds support a collaboration that includes Forest County Potawatomi Community, Menominee Nation, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, and others. Together they will conduct research and provide context for a new museum exhibit and a memorial to a mid-1800s multi-tribal community and its associated burial site, located on the current UWSP campus. The exhibit will provide the wider historical context of native people who continue to make homes in central Wisconsin despite government and settler hostility. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
A Landscape of Families
WH funds will be used to create an outdoor exhibit at the site of an 1832 census conducted shortly before forced removal of Ho-Chunk residents from their homes. The exhibit will be created in collaboration with Ho-Chunk Nation and provide a self-reflective, educational response to a significant historic. Visitors will be challenged to explore the people, places, and nuance of Wisconsin’s 1830s cultural landscape as a means to construct modern-day insights. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
The Yellow Wallpaper: A New Musical
$2,200 to MUSIC THEATRE OF MADISON
The production will use WH funds to provide context and discussion surrounding the one-woman musical performance based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's seminal short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
The People’s Recorder: Revisiting the Federal Arts Projects Today
$9,608 to ARTS WISCONSIN ON BEHALF OF SPARK MEDIA
This podcast series shares stories first recorded in the 1930s by Works Progress Administration writers and artists. WH funds will support the exploration of Wisconsin-based projects from the time for a modern understanding of their influence and importance.
Weyauwega Train Derailment Film Project
$9,120 to WEYAUWEGA ARTS ORGANIZATION
In 1996 a freight train carrying hazardous material caught fire in Weyauwega. The emergency lasted more than two weeks and led to the evacuation of 2,300 people. WH funds will be used to work with youth interviewers to collect stories and archival footage for a film about this piece of Wisconsin history.
Mirrors and Windows
$10,000 to AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATER
WH funds will be used to bring American Players Theater teaching artists into rural classrooms to provide engaging workshops centered on literature by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The students in grades 9-12 will be guided through theater-based exercises that highlight and create personal connections between the students and the characters in the literature, while also encouraging an understanding of the differences between their experiences and the ones in the book. This is a pilot project in Sauk County schools. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.
Land Cast: Stories from Wisconsin's Frontlines of Environmental Action
WH Funds will support a podcast series that will be produced and published by the Center for Culture, History, and Education’s digital magazine and podcast, “Edge Effects.” The series will focus on environmental issues that are not just scientific problems to be solved but are rooted in histories of environmental injustices.
Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling
$2,000 to JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE
Jewish Museum Milwaukee is using WH grant funds to develop an exhibit and programs about the history and impact of the recycling industry - globally, nationally, and in Wisconsin in particular. Once the stigmatized work of immigrant peddlers and now an innovative, lucrative industry, the museum will use recycling as a lens for considering contemporary issues such as immigration, prejudice, technological innovation, environmental justice, and environmental consciousness.
"Artists Without Borders: Reflections on Art and Place" Exhibitions and Public Engagement
$9,750 to MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART
The Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend will host an exhibition with works by nine Wisconsin artists whose artwork explores the allure and challenges of immigration. WH funds help to support programs that invite viewers to deepen their engagement with the exhibition and its themes, including the history of immigration in Wisconsin.
Native American Lithics at The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums: Identification and Interpretation
The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums/City of Platteville Museum Department will develop new exhibits about the history of Native Americans in the southwestern Wisconsin “Driftless Area,” from the last Ice Age until European contact. The project will bring deeper understanding to the lifeways and traditions of Wisconsin’s first inhabitants and shed new light on stone tool artifacts and their manufacture, and ancient flora and fauna over the last 13,000 years.
Mexican Modernism Initiative
$10,000 to MADISON MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting an exhibition of the museum’s significant collection of Mexican Modern artworks. WH grant funds help to support the initiative, which will explore both the history and conditions in which these works were created and their relevance to contemporary issues of Mexican-Americans today. The museum will be working in partnership with the Mexican-American and broader Latinx community to develop relevant public programs, including street art activities, community reflections, gallery talks, a panel discussion, a poetry event, workshops, and more.
Hmong Cultural Exploration through Dance, Theatre and Literature
$5,970 to YOUNG AUDITORIUM AT UW-WHITEWATER
Wisconsin is home to the third largest Hmong community in the nation. This program aims to address cultural misunderstanding and to highlight under-represented art and culture. The Young Auditorium at UW-Whitewater will use WH funds to integrate dance and theatre in an exploration of Hmong culture. The performances are intended to provide unique cultural experiences to supplement the programming associated with the April Big Read selection: The “Latehomecomer” by Kao Kalia Yang.
Nature of Culture: Global Guardians
$10,000 to NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE OF MILWAUKEE
Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, Inc. received WH funding for cultural, artistic and educational activities for low-income Milwaukee children ages 3-18 years. The program, called Global Guardians, presents many different ways people use dance, music and visual art to represent forests, rivers, marshes, lakes, meadows and prairies around the world. Learning about these ecosystems, present in Wisconsin and globally, through creative experiences helps children learn to be environmental and cultural stewards.
Interfaith Dialogue and Community Engagement Amidst the Pandemic
$8,811 to MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY
Marquette University will convene humanities experts, religious leaders, and community members for a conversation about the history and potential of interfaith engagement to promote justice and peace in Milwaukee. The concept is inspired by the original Muslim-Christian dialogue group that first met in Milwaukee over four decades ago. By exploring lessons drawn from the group’s historical role, this WH-funded program will allow for reflection on how the challenges of the pandemic have been addressed by interfaith partners and how communities can promote nonviolence, peacemaking, forgiveness, and justice.
$10,000 to STILLWATERS COLLECTIVE
A WH grant to Stillwaters Collective will help to fund a documentary filming of the stage production, Makin’ Cake, which illustrates our nation’s history of racism and wealth disparity. Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton performs with multimedia projections and two live bakers on stage. In fifty minutes, she explores consumerism, race-based policies, the shifting roles of women, the institutional design for income inequality, and white male supremacist theory. And cake. Its histories and basic ingredients tell us a lot about access and privilege.