all about the arts, culture, creativity and community
throughout Wisconsin

October 19, 2020


I've got three important things to highlight today:
  • Exciting grant opportunities are available for Wisconsin's creative sector:  Gov. Tony Evers recently announced more than $100 million in investments to provide additional economic stabilization for small businesses and communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  These funding programs include:
    • The We're All In Small Business Grant - Phase 2 helps small businesses
       get back on their feet as they re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Independent arts businesses and individual artists working with LLCs or sole proprietors are eligible to apply.  You can apply for Phase 2 support even if you received Phase 1  funding.  Milwaukee-based gener8tor, in partnership with Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin Arts Board, Imagine MKE, and other organizations and agencies, will present an informational webinar on Tuesday, October 20 (check Arts Wisconsin's Facebook page for specifics as we have them).  Application deadline is Monday, November 2.   Click here for all the info.
    • A $15 million program for live music and performance venues throughout Wisconsin. Music venues, which often serve as community gathering places and cultural hubs, were among the first small businesses to close and may be among the last to fully re-open. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, this investment will help shuttered venues and hopefully, encourage a national plan to save these businesses over the long term.  Application deadline is Wednesday, October 28.  Click here for all the info. 
    • An additional $10 million for non-profit cultural organizations, bringing the total for the Cultural Program Grants to $15 million. The grant awards will be announced in the near future.
BTW, have you thanked Gov. Evers for these important investments?  If not, you should do that right now.  Use  Arts Wisconsin's Legislative Action Center to send your personalized message of thanks.
  • Arts Wisconsin has joined the Stop the COVID Spread Coalition, a coalition of Wisconsin's leading health care, business, and advocacy organizations aimed at combatting the growing COVID-19 crisis throughout our state.  Stop the Spread is educating Wisconsinites about the public health crisis, including a series of public service announcements encouraging the use of crucial safety measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.   

    Employing preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID is not a partisan or geographic issue. It's not too late to turn around the alarming rise in cases throughout our state.  Help keep our health care system stable and accessible, protect the health and safety of essential workers and all Wisconsinites, and prevent further shutdown of Wisconsin businesses and economy. Let's all work together to help stop the COVID spread.
  • Hey, there's a very big set of elections happening on Tuesday, November 3 and we encourage you to exercise your democratic right to vote.  For information on registration, candidates, voting locations, and anything else connected with the elections, go to  For information on voting records and policy issues related to the arts, go to the Arts Action Fund's ArtsVote.  Here are some important voting dates and deadlines:
    • Through November 1:  During this closed registration period, you must register to vote in your municipal clerk's office or at a satellite voting location run by your municipal clerk.
    • Wednesday, October 20:   The first day that municipal clerks may offer in-person absentee voting in their office or a satellite location.  Start dates and office hours vary by municipality.  
    • Friday October 30 at 5 p.m. - The deadline to register to vote at your clerk's office or other designated location.
    • Tuesday, November 3:  Election Day!  Wisconsin is one of the few states that allows you to register and then vote on Election Day at your polling place.  Polls are open everywhere in Wisconsin 7 am - 8 pm. 
Thanks for voting, and thanks for your good work and advocacy.  Keep in touch with questions, comments, and ideas.  

Anne Katz, Director
608 255 8316

Announcing the 2020 Arts in the Community Award

Arts Wisconsin is pleased to present the twelfth annual 
Arts in the Community Awardin partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.  These awards honor civic leaders as champions and communities in Wisconsin focused on creativity as integral to economic, educational and community vitality.  

Zach Vruwink, former Mayor of the City of Wisconsin Rapids, current interim administrator of the City of Rhinelander, and immediate past-president of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, is the recipient of the 2020 Arts in the Community Award.  The award was presented at the League's 122nd annual conference on October 15, 2020.

Throughout his career, Zach Vruwink has been focused on collaboration, building bridges, and sustainability towards a good quality of life for all starting at the community level. During his eight years as Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, he convened, messaged and amplified the significance of a collaborative approach to promote the value of the arts and humanities and build capacity for the role of the arts as a vibrant community resource accessible for all.  Under his leadership, the city partnered with local and state organizations to build a roadmap for long-term, sustainable arts and cultural development, economic and workforce development at a city level, and community based cultural planning and engagement. 

As President of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities 2019-2020, Vruwink supported the League's partnership with Arts Wisconsin in creative economy development and access.   "Under Zach's leadership the League has highlighted the key role that arts play in every Wisconsin community," says Jerry Deschane, Director of the League.  "Zach celebrates the arts, in his own city, and as an essential element  in the success of all municipalities throughout Wisconsin."

Arts Wisconsin presented Vruwink with a original art poster highlighting a quote from the late UW-Madison professor and community arts leader Robert E. Gard:  "Let us put firmly and permanently aside as a cliche of an expired moment in time that art is a frill.  Let us accept the goodness of art where we are now, and expand its worth in the places where people live."

Thanks to Heid Music for its sponsorship of this year's awards.  Click here for more info on the Arts in the Community Awards.

Listening sessions, webinars, conversations
Coming up:

Thursday, October 22 - Listening sessions with Arts Wisconsin and Wisconsin Arts Board
The focus is on conversations with specific arts discipline groups.  All are welcome to join in to share ideas, resources, challenges, opportunities, and issues:
  • 9 am:  musical groups
  • 10:30 am:  museums and art centers
To participate - online; Phone +1 312 626 6799; Meeting ID 460 137 8823

October-December - Reimaging the Arts nationally and in Wisconsin: 
Join Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board to share ideas, information, and inspiration, in a series of conversations about the (reimagined) future of the arts, culture and creativity throughout our state.

The national series:  The Wallace Foundation is hosting a five-part national webinar series, "Reimagining the Future of the Arts." The series brings together a diverse set of leading experts in the field to facilitate conversations around some of the most pressing issues facing the arts sector today, grounded in research commissioned or supported by Wallace.

And the Wisconsin series:  Following each Wallace webinar session, Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board will host a series of conversations on reimagining the future of the arts throughout the state.

Both series will ask: what will the future be like for nonprofit arts organizations? Strengthening community engagement, inclusion, and organizational health have long been on the minds of nonprofit arts leaders around the country. The global COVID-19 pandemic and the national conversation about racial justice and equity make such questions even more urgent.

To help explore these questions on the statewide and local levels, let's talk about Wisconsin's future.  Registration is free for both series.  Get all the info and register for both here.

Support Arts Wisconsin - pay-what-you-can!

Pay-What-You-Can Membership in Arts Wisconsin.  Our 
advocacy, service and development services for Wisconsin are only possible because of support from people, organizations and businesses throughout the state.  

We need you with us now more than ever. We plan to provide as much access to our services as possible, while understanding the obvious hardships of the COVID-19 crisis for people, organizations and businesses involved in the arts and beyond.  So, we're now offering pay-what-you-can memberships in Arts Wisconsin.  

Arts Wisconsin is Wisconsin's only independent statewide organization working hard to help creative people, organizations, businesses and communities survive, and in the long run, thrive, through and beyond this era of coronavirus, widespread economic distress, and much-needed action for social justice.  

Creativity is essential right now, and the way forward is together.  Click here to join or renew your membership in Arts Wisconsin Many thanks for your good work and for your support!

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