ON Newsletter - Fall 2022

Asking Why

From the Director

The only bumper sticker that Wisconsin Humanities ever produced was amazingly brief—considering it was created by humanists. It read: The humanities ask why.

That phrase has stood the test of time better than the 1970s logo that accompanied it (and that looked a bit too much like a soccer ball—my apologies to the designer).

Now here we are, 50 years and three logos later, but still committed to asking “Why?” For us, that is not an academic question. WH exists to work in close partnership with people throughout the state to strengthen our democracy. Strengthening democracy takes asking questions, wrestling with answers, and acting. It also takes caring about human connection—about being equitable and accessible, and including everyone.

Wisconsin has changed in the past half-century, and so has WH’s understanding of what the public humanities can and should be for our state. As we pursue more and stronger ties to people of all backgrounds and beliefs in every corner of the state, we are learning together with all of you how to use the humanities to help us live together.

In this issue of ON, you’ll meet five wonderful people and hear, in their words, about the creative public humanities work they do with us, and why they do it.

Thank you for asking your “why” questions, and for being part of the next 50 years of Wisconsin Humanities.

Dena Wortzel, Director


In this issue:

Fall 2022

Five People Share Their 'Why'

The humanities ask what it means to be human. The public humanities invite all of us to explore our histories and cultural traditions, reflect on society and its challenges, hear each others' stories, and fuel an expansive, democratic vision for our communities.

We asked five people engaged in this work with us to describe a moment that reveals the “why” of what they do.

Read More ➞

Seeing the Humanity in Each of Us

Getting to know people, and learning something about their personal story, can break down barriers between us and help us better understand each other. So we are excited to introduce season 2 of Human Powered podcast, where we are talking with people who have been impacted by the justice system. And with Love Wisconsin Story Bridges, we are offering conversation starters that make it easy to use Love Wisconsin's powerful stories to spark meaningful discussions about things that matter to you.


Spotlight on Grant Funded Projects

Wisconsin Humanities has been funding public humanities programs for 50 years! That is over 3,000 grants, in every corner of the state. We are spotlighting two outstanding projects that are making Wisconsin a better place for all of us to live: A program for rural youth about race and identity and a new outdoor exhibition commemorating the stories of Ho-Chunk families.