This year has been rough on humanities organizations statewide. Many of the grants Wisconsin Humanities funded this fall were to help organizations pivot to new ways of inspiring civic participation and individual imagination. Many are finding virtual channels and online activities offer innovative options for deepening community connections and making programs more widely accessible.
We are proud to announce that between August and December, Wisconsin Humanities awarded $88,219 in Mini and Major Grants to 16 organizations helping people connect throughout Wisconsin. We continue to offer seven grant rounds every year. Learn more on our grants page.
Mini Grants Awarded in Dane, Door, Milwaukee, Iowa, Racine, and Washington Counties (next deadline is February 1st)
WH grant funds are going to Folklore Village for a workshop called “Comfort and Community: Wisconsin Food Traditions.” It will be led by a Ho-Chunk tradition bearer and chef, as well as a folklorist who specializes in foodways. There will be a particular emphasis on Native foodways in Wisconsin. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity. www.folklorevillage.org
The first season of the podcast “Collegeland” tells the stories of the working people who sustain university life. Produced by UW-Madison’s Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, episodes feature interviews with people working at campuses across the country and other stories about higher education. We are proud to support this effort to illustrate the important role the campus serves in their larger communities. https://dces.wisc.edu/
WH grant funds will allow the staff of Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society to work with humanities experts to guide development of the themes of new exhibits in the new Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay. This planning grant will ensure that the project provides educational, cultural, and inspirational experiences to the community and visitors. www.dcmm.org
A Mini Grant to Metcalfe Park Community Bridges goes to the “The Decameron Project.” Based on a tale by Giovanni Boccaccio of youth resilience during the catastrophic 14th century bubonic plague, participants will consider Boccaccio’s famous quote, “To have compassion for those who suffer is a human quality which everyone should possess, especially those who have required comfort themselves in the past and have managed to find it in others.” In this modern exploration, young adults will meet via Zoom to flee their personal misery of COVID-19 and create works of comedy and tragedy, luck and good fortune, love and loss, and wit and intelligence. www.metcalfeparkbridges.org
A Mini Grant enabled the Wisconsin Veterans Museum to create a virtual version of their annual living history program popular with school groups and families called “Talking Spirits XXII: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour.” The online version offers theatrical vignettes that unpack myths and realities of local history through the characters of four historic figures who come from different ethnicities, genders, and perspectives. www.wisvetsmuseum.com
The Siena Retreat Center is using a Mini Grant to offer a variety of programming focused on racial justice and cultural awareness. Their series of talks will occur online, and in person when possible, and include discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the experiences of Native American, Black, and Japanese internees during World War II. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity. www.SienaRetreatCenter.org
A Mini Grant to Slinger High School will be used to create a curriculum that helps students consider how people find their voice and build community. Students will gather information about organizations in the broader Slinger area, as well as the school community. Particular attention will be paid to how people meet their needs for a sense of community during a pandemic. The project culminates in a community celebration of history and culture. www.Slinger.K-12.wi.us
Major Grants Awarded in Bayfield, Brown, Chippewa, Clark, Dane, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, and Waukesha Counties (next deadline is April 15th)
The D. R. Moon Memorial Library/The Stanley Public Library received a Major Grant to bring books to Amish/Old Order Mennonite schools that lack easy access to library services in Chippewa, Clark and Eau Claire Counties. The goal is to distribute 30-40 books monthly for students in grade levels 1-8. Librarians will work with the schools to develop age-appropriate discussion questions for the content, create peer reading circles, and provide other methods for engaging young readers. This project is supported, in part, by the William A. Wenninger Endowment. www.stanleylibrary.org
Lake Superior Bigtop Chautauqua was awarded a Major Grant to create and produce a historically accurate, well-researched, and entertaining original musical about the Anishinaabe people. The project involves extensive collaboration with local Native American artists and culture keepers to tell the real stories of the First Peoples' legends and their interactions with White settlers and the government they eventually created here. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity with funds from the Mary H. Rice Foundation. www.bigtop.org
Thanks to a partnership between the Wisconsin Book Festival, produced by the Madison Public Library Foundation, and UW- Madison’s Program for Creative Writing, a virtual event series featuring Wisconsin authors will stream live in 2020-21. Funding from Wisconsin Humanities helps to give Wisconsin authors an accessible platform and connect them with a wider audience. www.mplfoundation.org
In 2021 The Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters will delve into the cultural and philosophical roots of American democracy. From the ancient Athenian democracy to the influence of Native American governing systems, scholars and experts from a range of disciplines—classics, ethics, political science, American Indian studies, and law – will offer conversational presentations online. The Major Grant supports these virtual opportunities for people to discuss rights, responsibilities, participation, the tensions between social good and individual freedom, justice, and how we can forge a “more perfect” union as we move forward. www.wisconsinacademy.org
Hamilton Woodtype and Printing Museum’s Enquirer and Globe collection consists of historic carved wood and cast metal blocks that letterpress printers used to make large poster and billboard sized prints. The collection is the inspiration for new museum programs that encourage community engagement and dialogue, specifically on the topic of cultural representation in art. A Major Grant has been awarded to support visiting artists who will use these historic artifacts to create new artwork within a modern cultural context. This project supports our focus on race and ethnicity. https://Woodtype.org
In honor of the city of Waukesha’s 125th anniversary in 2021, Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum is developing a physical and virtual exhibition. The Major Grant goes toward the selection of 100 objects from the museum’s archival and artifact collections. Community members will be encouraged to engage with the anniversary project by submitting their own suggestions of objects that connect with the city’s history and help to tell the many stories of Waukesha. http://www.waukeshacountymuseum.org/
A Major Grant goes to YWCA Green Bay-DePere to provide educational opportunities and a professional learning model for teachers seeking to combat inherent, implicit bias that disproportionately impacts students of color. The goal is to help teachers become active antiracist educators who can advocate for and support families from different cultures, ethnic communities, and socioeconomic status so that students thrive both in and out of the classroom. This project supports our focus on race and ethnicity. www.ywcagreenbay.org
First Stage has received a Major Grant to develop a fictional treasure hunt to explore Milwaukee history online. The interactive game called “The Quest for Solomon’s Treasure” invites visitors to solve a mystery while they are learning history and meeting curriculum standards for grades 3-8. It includes a supporting companion guide that is historically accurate and culturally inclusive. https://Firststage.org
A Major Grant to Milwaukee Film will help in the production of a new film called “Finding Loren: A Warrior’s Story.” The documentary tells the story of Lt. Loren Hintz, a World War II fighter pilot shot down and killed near Bologna, Italy just days before the end of the war in Europe. The mission to find and recover his remains has been taken up by his family, as well as Italian aviators and amateur archaeologists. https://www.facebook.com/findinglorendocumentary/
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.