We are grateful for stories: our new project with Love Wisconsin

Humanities Programs in Focus | November 22, 2017 | By:

Duane and Barb grew up in northern Wisconsin. High-school sweethearts, they are now in their later years. Together they have started a movement to preserve their Finnish cultural heritage. Duane said, “In my class as a kid, about 80% of the Finnish kids spoke Finn. In my brother’s class, about three years later, it was probably 5%. It happened that fast. So now we’re trying to build it back up.” Read More


Announcing Major Grant awards this fall

Humanities Programs in Focus | November 8, 2017 | By:

We’re pleased to award $29,420 in Major Grants to three great projects that include capturing Wisconsin music history to exploring the issues of sexual assault in a Native American community through a Wisconsin Reads project to finding common ground among persons of different faith traditions.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these three organizations! These projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here! Read More


When a visionary director takes inspiration from a visionary artist

Humanities Programs in Focus | October 26, 2017 | By:

Heritage Days offers the “chance to overcome generations of mistrust and create passionate young historians who will keep history alive and relevant to our lives.”  

Driving north on highway 13, just before you get to the town of Phillips in northern Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Concrete Park is hard to miss.  More than 200 sculptures, made of concrete and studded with colored glass, depict giants, winged angels, figures of history and legend, menageries of wild and domestic animals, and various scenes of ordinary men and women in daily life.  Read More


Why do we work? and other questions for working people

Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | October 12, 2017 | By:

Work clock

By Alison Staudinger

Why do you work?

How can a daily activity like work be both the worst and the best of life? Perhaps it is in part because humans have come to expect meaning from their work, in addition to material or social benefits. To understand this development, the humanities offer a unique lens. They offer records of the everyday and methods to study them.

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Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate asks, Why Poetry?

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | September 28, 2017 | By:

On Poetry and Memory

by Karla Huston

I never saw a Purple Cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one

Those lines are from a poem by Gelett Burgess. It is a poem I remember my father reciting to me when I was a child.  I remember imagining that purple cow mooing through my past, swishing her purple tail.

I’m more serious about poetry now. Read More


Mini Grants awarded this fall

Humanities Programs in Focus | September 13, 2017 | By:

Mini Grants awarded in September 2017

We’re pleased to award $8,000 to four great projects that include exploring the plays of Ibsen to support for high school students to learn about the working lives of construction and trades workers; and from the exploration of perceptions of Black motherhood to celebrating the conclusion of a community visioning project.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these four organizations! These projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here! Read More


What is the right response to hate?

Voices from the Field | August 17, 2017 | By:

Years ago, a friend of a friend was telling a story about a local horse deal, when she said something that took me aback.  Describing the deal, she said she had been “jewed down.”  Not only had I never heard a neighbor make a reference to Jews in any context, I had never in my life heard someone standing right in front of me say something anti-Semitic. 
 
Puzzling over it later, I was sure of two things:  1) that the person who used it was unthinking in her incorporation of an ugly stereotype into her vocabulary, and thus at some level into her worldview, and 2) that if she were asked to think about what it meant for Jewish people like me for such a phrase to be used, she would see the darker significance and gladly stop using it. 
 
When I saw reports of white supremacists with Nazi flags marching in Charlottesville, Read More


The day the boys came home

Humanities Programs in Focus | August 3, 2017 | By:

 

For many veterans of the Vietnam War, coming home was not about waving flags, proud friends and relatives, and open arms, as it was for the two veterans of Iraq who I helped to welcome home.  Vietnam vets often felt, and were indeed treated, like pariahs even by family and friends.  As Wisconsin veteran Bruce Canny told me recently, “Back then it was more or less to your advantage to keep it secret.”  He recalls being shunned by one of his wife’s relatives, though they later became close.

It has been fifty years since Dow Chemical, the producer of napalm, was driven from the UW-Madison campus by the war’s opponents while, from towns across Wisconsin, men like Canny were being shipped to Vietnam – destined to come back changed, or not at all.  Read More


Starting the Conversation in Beloit

Humanities Programs in Focus | July 20, 2017 | By:

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is committed to strengthening community life for every Wisconsinite. We are doing this using history, culture, and conversation in different ways every day.

As an organization, we are guided by a board that includes humanities professionals and members of the public. These extremely dedicated volunteers from around the state bring a range of experience and wisdom to their service. We are lucky to get to know each and every one of these people during their tenure.

In June, we eagerly greet our newly nominated members as they rotate onto the board. This year was no exception. We are excited to introduce you to (l-r) Juan Jimenez, Alton “Sonny” Smart, Kathy Laakso and John Viste! Read More


Summer Reading for 2017

Voices from the Field | July 6, 2017 | By:

What are you reading?

This is a question we love to ask, and answer.

In a conversation with my seven-year-old recently, I casually but deliberately mentioned that there are books about any question you could possibly ask.

“You mean there are books about where the first seeds came from, and who planted them?” she immediately replied. She was incredulous.

Yes, there are so many books. More than we’ll ever read in one lifetime. And isn’t that wonderful!?

Every summer we indulge ourselves in the fun of sharing some book recommendations with you. Here is our list for summer 2017, though these books will hold there own into 2018 and beyond. Enjoy!

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