Spring 2021 Newsletter

On Listening

From the Director

I’ve been doing a lot of listening lately, the glow from my laptop lighting my kitchen at night. Tracey and Mushe, Caroline and Clinton, Arijit, Camille, Curt… they all spoke to me, the distinct timbre of each voice filling my mind with a sense of wonder at the preciousness and the complexity that is humanity.

Hearing recordings of these people from around Wisconsin has been an emotional experience. It is one that I’m eager to share with you. And I can, thanks to the incredibly talented team that is producing Human Powered. It’s our podcast that shares the stories of people who are using the humanities in extraordinary ways to make their neighbors’ lives—and our state—better.

If you are a dedicated podcast listener who loves richly textured, real-life stories that take you right into people’s lives, this is the podcast about Wisconsin you’ve been waiting for. If you’re an avid reader or radio listener, but you haven’t dipped into the world of podcasts, it’s time you stopped missing out on a style of storytelling that was made for you. Click here now to check it out!

I promise that you’ll discover people and places in Wisconsin that will lift you up and root you deeper in what makes this state what it is—and inspire you with what Wisconsin might become.

I also am excited to share our new logo composed of three faces that come together to form an image of Wisconsin. What do—or don’t—we really know about one another? What new ways might we find to make community, with places for everyone? The humanities path is through deep listening. If you’re reading this, you are on it already.

Thanks for joining me.

Dena Wortzel, Director


In this issue:

Spring 2021

A Conversation with Jimmy Gutierrez

We’re thrilled to share this Q&A with Jimmy Gutierrez, the host of our new podcast, Human Powered. Jimmy is also a Milwaukee-based journalist whose work takes an exciting, community-centered approach. Both roles are all about connecting with people through deep, sustained listening.

Read More ➞

Wisconsin Humanities has a brand-new podcast!

We’ve put together a fantastic team to help us tell beautifully produced, emotionally powerful stories about how people make places better across our state. One of the people you’ll meet is Cheri Fuqua, a community leader and organizer.


Listen, Speak, Reflect

In 2019, we launched Immigrant Journeys from South of the Border—an exhibit that shares the stories of eight immigrants who now live and work in Wisconsin. During this period of social and physical distancing, we believe this conversation must continue.


Remembering a Dear Friend

“Mary spent her life bringing people together and supported Wisconsin Humanities because she believed its programs and initiatives were so effective in providing public forums for civic dialogue among people of all persuasions, something she felt was so necessary for us all.”



We were honored to award a total of $548,000 to 82 nonprofit organizations across the state.


Beyond the Headlines:
Wisconsin’s Water Future

How do we tell Wisconsin’s complex water stories? From flood to drought, storm intensity to changing temperatures, these stories are local, emotional, and essential.