10 Wisconsin arts projects awarded $190,000


The National Endowment of the Arts awarded 10 projects around the state with grants in their #NEAFall16 giving cycle. Each project brings its own set of unique features to the arts world to benefit Wisconsin.

Additionally, the projects are spread throughout the state, increasing awareness of the art community in Wisconsin.

Forward Theater Company $10,000 Madison, WI Art Works – Theater & Musical Theater To support the development and production of “Learning to Stay” by James DeVita. Adapted from the novel by Erin Celello, the play illuminates the changes that sometimes occur in military marriages. Attorney Elise Sabatto’s husband returns from his military service in Iraq, but as the after-effects of his trauma set in, she must find a way to help him and save herself. A free performance, facilitated talkbacks, and community outreach programs will serve the general public, as well as events tailored specifically for veterans, their families, and service providers. Programs may occur in partnership with the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Madison Veterans Affairs Hospital, the Madison Public Library, and the Wisconsin Book Festival.

Madison Opera, Inc. $20,000 Madison, WI Art Works – Opera To support a production of “Charlie Parker’s Yardbird” by composer Daniel Schnyder and librettist Bridgette Wimberly. The opera focuses on legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, Jr., also known as “Bird,” who died at the age of 34. Set on the day of Parker’s death as his body lays unclaimed in a New York City morgue, Bird returns in spirit to Birdland, the famed jazz club named in his honor, where he composes a final masterpiece and is visited by people from his past. The creative team may include conductor John DeMain, director Ron Daniels, tenor Joshua Stewart, sopranos Angela Brown, Angela Mortellaro, and Rachel Sterrenberg, and baritone Will Liverman. A wide range of engagement activities including collaborations with local jazz professionals, schools, and community groups, will be held in the months leading up to the performances. As many as two performances will occur at the 1,081-seat Capitol Theater in early 2017.

First Stage Milwaukee, Inc. (aka First Stage) $10,000 Milwaukee, WI Art Works – Theater & Musical Theater To support the premiere of “Welcome To Bronzeville” by Sheri Williams Pannell. The historical fiction play depicts Bronzeville, a vibrant 1950s African-American community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Created with input from elders of the community, the production will show the daily life of the neighborhood and feature a talent show, the jazz singer Billie Holiday, as well as historic landmarks and businesses. Dialogue will be facilitated among young people and families about the city’s cultural history, racial segregation, and the importance of building acceptance among all generations and races. Community outreach events, an art exhibit, and post-show talkbacks with history experts and residents of current-day Bronzeville will illuminate the themes of the play.

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. $20,000 Milwaukee, WI Art Works – Design To support Doors Open Milwaukee 2017. The festival offers behind-the-scenes tours of more than 150 buildings throughout Milwaukee, as well as an array of keynote lectures and in-depth tours. It is Milwaukee’s only cultural and design event to specifically celebrate the rich artistic and architectural heritage of Milwaukee and its Doors Open is a free event, making it accessible to families, seniors, and anyone on a fixed or low income.

Latino Arts, Inc. $10,000 Milwaukee, WI Challenge America – To support a 2017 Dia de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebration exhibition and associated activities. The celebration will feature an exhibition of ofrendas, or altars, by visual artists and local school groups; musical performances; and workshops. The annual event draws a large Latino audience and preserves the community’s cultural heritage. Free tickets to the performances will be provided to area adult day centers for older adults and people with disabilities.

Milwaukee Ballet Company, Inc. (aka Milwaukee Ballet) $10,000 Milwaukee, WI Art Works – Dance To support the creation and presentation of a new work by Milwaukee Ballet dancer and Choreographer-inResidence Timothy O’Donnell. The ballet will feature the male Milwaukee Ballet company dancers and deal with the subject of male depression. The work will be performed as part of a mixed repertory bill that includes “La Sylphide,” a ballet that will showcase the female dancers of the company. Presented at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee, the new ballet will be set to music by composer Ezio Bosso, performed live by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Inc. (aka Milwaukee Repertory Theater) $20,000 Milwaukee, WI Art Works – Theater & Musical Theater To support the production of “Jane Eyre” adapted by Polly Teale, artistic director of Shared Experience. The UKbased theater is dedicated to exploring text through physical movement. Teale’s adaptation explores the novel’s theme of repression versus expression and employs physicality to personify Jane’s inner self and her conflict between realizing a fulfilled life or conforming to Victorian ideals of gender and class. Director KJ Sanchez will provide a modern lens to explore the role of women in contemporary society. Educational and outreach programming will include in-school residencies for high school students who will lead readings and discussions for local residents in partnership with public libraries and bookstores.

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee $15,000 Milwaukee, WI Art Works – Arts Education To support Arts Education/Community Ecosystem (ArtsECO) professional development program. The Peck School of the Arts Department of Art & Design will provide hands-on experiences in art, technology, and digital fabrication for cross-section of Milwaukee-area teachers from the arts, sciences, and engineering. The institutes will help teachers develop new skills and teaching approaches in creativity and innovation and develop a strong network of educators who teach their students art, design, and technology.

Wormfarm Institute Inc. (aka Wormfarm) $35,000 Reedsburg, WI Art Works – Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works To support the Farm/Art DTour. The approximately 50-mile, self-guided drive through art installations in the working farmlands of Sauk County, Wisconsin, will include a variety of ways for the public to interact with both artists and local farmers. Featured activities may include performances on farms and in pastures, artist-built mobile roadside culture stands, temporary visual arts installations, rural education sites, and poetry installations.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center Inc (aka JMKAC) $40,000 Sheboygan, WI Art Works – Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works To support the Connecting Communities residency program. The series of multidisciplinary community-based artistic collaborations will actively engage the public in creating new works. Architect Michael Moore will collaborate with architecture firm Tres Birds and community members to conceptualize and build interactive sculptures that integrate with the natural setting. Visual artists Andrea Dezso, Swoon, and Atom Pechman will join with members of the area’s immigrant communities, at-risk youth, and residents of local homeless and domestic abuse shelters, along with the public to develop and create public art installations. Finally, Phantom Limb Company will collaborate with members of the public to create performances utilizing marionette puppetry and multimedia theatrics to interpret climate change and freshwater research.

The NEA is an independent federal agency whose support and funding gives Americans access and opportunity to participate in the arts in their own communities.