The diversity of Wisconsin

Winter 2021: Major and Mini Grant Awards

$83,915 in Wisconsin Humanities grants awarded in February!

Despite the challenges of planning public programs in an uncertain future and the realities of life during the pandemic, organizations around the state have impressed us with their creativity, innovation, and commitment to using humanistic approaches to serve their audiences.

We are proud to announce that in February 2021, Wisconsin Humanities awarded $83,915 in Mini and Major Grants to 13 organizations helping people connect throughout Wisconsin. The following projects tackle important subjects -- immigration, race, ethnicity, archaeology, artist expression, and history both local and global -- in ways that are accessible and educational.

We continue to offer seven grant rounds every year. Learn more on our grants page.


Mini Grants Awarded in Columbia, Dane, Grant, Sheboygan, and Vilas Counties (Next deadline is May 1st, 2021)


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 and the complimentary website will including supplementary materials and interviews with arts and humanities experts, reading lists, and web links to expand exploration of the work. fermatstheater.org

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. plymoutharts.org

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 uniquely immersive experience. eagleriverhistory.org

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. lodipubliclibrary.org

The City of Platteville Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Friends of Indian Park, is 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. www.platteville.org/recreation


Major Grants Awarded in Dane, Grant, Milwaukee, Walworth, and Washington Counties (Next deadlines is April 15, 2021)


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. https://jewishmuseummilwaukee.org/

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. https://wisconsinart.org

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 a deeper understanding of 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. mining.jamison.museum

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. www.mmoca.org

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. www.youngauditorium.com

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. www.nh-milw.org

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. www.marquette.edu

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. http://stillwaterscollective.com

Wisconsin Humanities grants help support cultural and educational programs around the state. If you or your organization has never applied for a grant, or you just want some feedback on an idea you aren’t sure about, please contact us to discuss your idea. We may be able to help!  It might be anything from helping to brainstorm an idea or connecting with a humanities expert.

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