Announcing November Mini Grant Awards

2016 WHC Grant AwardsWe’re pleased to award $12,061 in Mini Grants to projects around the state that reach all ages, covering topics from race and ethnicity to immigration, and from literature to local history.

Congratulations to these seven organizations! These projects tell Wisconsin’s stories and bring communities together to explore important themes and reach groups often overlooked. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here!

Map of Wisconsin showing grant awards given in December 2016Displacement and Immigration: Through a Different Lens | $1701 to the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Humanistic Studies Program 

This project will use WHC funding to help middle school students and their families gain a deeper understanding about global displacement of people as well as local immigration. In partnership with the Neville Public Museum, students will see three films and a theatrical production with discussion following about what leads to immigration – both what pushes people from their home countries and what draws them to their new homes – and the impact this displacement has on communities. This program is designed for middle schoolers, who often are not the target of public programs. The films explore a Syrian refugee camp, an undocumented Latina pursuing the arts in California, and the odyssey of a Hmong family who waits in a Thai refugee camp before eventual settlement in the U.S. The one-person performance tells the true story of a German-Jewish man who must either secretly assimilate for having a Jewish grandparent, or flee his homeland during World War II. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Literature for Life: Inmates Talking About Books | $2,000 to the Kenosha Public Library 

With the help of WHC funds, the Kenosha Public Library will be providing two monthly book discussions, one for men and one for women, for inmates at the Kenosha County Detention Center.  KPL is building off past literature discussions that had a meaningful impact on participants and wanted to expand the series based on requests. The series gives inmates an opportunity to examine their own experiences through the lens of literature and guided by the humanities to express their thoughts and weigh their experiences in a non-judgmental forum. WHC funds will go toward the purchase of the 11 titles in paperback for each participant.

NEA Big Read: La Crosse Reads | $1,980 to the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Department of English 

Issues of racial tension and discrimination are critical themes in the NEA Big Read book, “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines, selected by grant recipient UW-La Crosse English Department. Questions of social and economic justice and structural racism emerge in the fictional story about a Southern community in the 1940s. WHC funds will be used to support a community-wide conversation that contextualizes Gaines’ book for La Crosse readers and promote literacy through the discussion. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

ARTi Gras 2017 $2,000 to the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater 

WHC is happy to again fund ARTi Gras, a cultural arts festival that has grown to 10 days with venues in Central Wisconsin cities including Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Port Edwards, Nekoosa and Amherst. The festival includes film, literature, history, poetry, theatre, music and visual arts. This year, a poetry slam will return, and literary anniversaries will lead to a special focus on Jane Austen and Shakespeare. Additionally, a British comedienne of Pakistani descent, Sajeela Kershi will also help kick off a foreign film event exploring themes of tolerance.

Teju the Storyteller in Platteville | $1663 to the City of Platteville Museums Department  

WHC funds will help bring Teju the Storyteller to Platteville for Martin Luther King Day in 2017 to provide a day of school workshops and a public performance to celebrate diversity and history in partnership with UW-Platteville’s Black Student Union. Tejumola Oloboni is a storyteller, folklorist and historian from Milwaukee whose stories draw from African traditions and African American history and folklore. Workshops will be held for elementary school youth, with a free public performance in the Municipal Auditorium for community members. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

A Day in the Life … | $1,537 to the National Railroad Museum  

WHC funds will help provide period appropriate materials and props for the National Railroad Museum’s “Day in the Life” 1860s experience targeted to students who use the museum as part of their school curriculum for hands-on educational activities. The project weaves American history into lessons about math, science, literature and culture. Students immerse themselves in six stations focusing on different aspects of 1860s life including Civil War soldiers, Reconstruction, westward expansion and immigration, the building the of Transcontinental Railroad, surveying and developing the West, and the Underground Railroad to Freedom.

Sixth Annual Tony Woiak History Festival | $1,200 to the Washburn Heritage Association 

WHC is again supporting the Washburn Heritage Association and Washburn Area Historical Society in hosting a series of local history lectures in Washburn this winter. The talks involve harrowing Lake Superior stories that earn the coined phrase “the Lake is the Boss,” a look at Ojibwe history involving the treaty making era and the significance of Madeline Island to Lake Superior Ojibwe, the history of Ashwabay, the ski hill that also shares grounds with Big Top Chautauqua, and the history of Walker High School Fire of 1947.


Keep Reading…




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As the national conversation about race has changed, so has the opportunity and the imperative for the WHC to be more direct in inviting people to talk about it.  

We invite you to read On.



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