ON Newsletter - Spring 2022

What Connects Us

Jerry and John Viste: Making More Possible


Edwina Buffalo-Reyes

Be Part of Our Next 50 Years!

Now is the time to be an important part of our next 50 years of work. Your gift supports Wisconsin Humanities state-wide programs.

The first 50 new donors who give a gift of $50 or more will receive the beautiful book Love Wisconsin: Stories From the Place We Call Home (value of $35). The book is full of stories of amazing people doing inspiring things in our state.

P.S. We appreciate gifts of any size from all across Wisconsin!

We’re so delighted that after 50 years, founding Wisconsin Humanities board member Gerald (Jerry) Viste is still a dear friend and supporter.

Having grown up on a farm, Jerry always felt strongly about making humanities projects accessible to rural communities. Throughout his life, Jerry lived up to his commitment to expanding humanities efforts in Wisconsin. In 1972, he became one of the first board members of Wisconsin Humanities, helping to set the course for the coming decades.

Today, Jerry’s ethic of service and his passion for Wisconsin are carried forward on our board by his son, John Viste. For the past five years, John has brought us his expertise in education and community development. From decades of work in the Middle East, to the work he accomplishes right here in Wisconsin, John has always understood the positive change communities can achieve through engagement with the humanities.

Much like his father, John also believes the world would not be complete without the humanities. It’s one of the many reasons that he is still so involved in humanities work and contributes to the mission of Wisconsin Humanities. But he is concerned that financial support for the humanities isn’t what it should be. One of the biggest differences between humanities work in the U.S. and his work overseas, he says, is the funding.

“We were dealing with millions of dollars in grants, whereas a lot of the organizations I’m working with now—we’re talking about giving $2,000 to people,” says John. “It’s a huge difference.”

He is especially excited about WH’s new Community Powered initiative, which you can read more about in this issue.

“I think it’s wonderful, and we need to do more of it,” John says about the initiative.

Community Powered: Growing Grassroots Resilience

As Wisconsin Humanities celebrates its 50th Anniversary, we have been reflecting on the lessons learned from decades of public humanities work. One that stands out is how, by putting the tools of the humanities in the hands of committed problem-solvers, we can make powerful changes happen.


Ready for Something New?

More Human Powered Is Headed Your Way

Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton and public historian Adam Carr co-host the brand new season of Wisconsin Humanities’ Human Powered podcast.


We’re celebrating 50 years of Wisconsin Humanities

What were you doing in 1972? Since our organization's founding, Wisconsin Humanities has worked in every corner of the state with YOU to explore what it means to be human, to be part of a democracy, and to strengthen each of our communities. Check out a timeline of our ongoing work bringing together individuals and communities.


Wisconsin’s Water Future

We’re all connected by Wisconsin’s wealth of water! Last fall, at Sturgeon Bay’s Crossroads at Big Creek, Beyond the Headlines worked with news media partner Wisconsin Watch to host a panel discussion on “Imperiled Shores,” a deeper dive into news reporting on the impact of Lake Michigan’s wildly fluctuating water levels.


LoveWI - Chia Youyvee Vang

To shine a light on what makes this work so special, Love Wisconsin is featuring stories from former Wisconsin Humanities board members—extraordinary people who help shape the humanities in Wisconsin. If you don't yet know Chia Youyee Vang, you are going to love 'meeting' her! As a student Chia noticed Hmong history wasn't in the curriculum. Now, as a historian at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, she has founded the Hmong Diaspora Studies program. Read her story, and others, on the Love Wisconsin website!