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The Arts Board Congratulates Three Wisconsin Organizations Selected for the NEAs’ 2013 Our Town Grants

Today the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced it plans to award 59 Our Town grants totaling $4.725 million in 34 states across the country.  Three of those 59 are being awarded in Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Arts Board congratulates the partnerships between the Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg and Sauk County, the City of Madison and the Madison Public Library Foundation, and the City of La Crosse and the Pump House Regional Arts Center for being among those awarded organizations.  

The Wormfarm Institute, with Sauk County as its primary partner, will receive $100,000 to produce ephemeral art installations, a pasture performance series, and artist-designed farm stands as part of a 50-mile self-guided tour through scenic farm land in Sauk County, Wisconsin. The Farm/Art DTour will bring together farming, conservation, and the arts in ways that engage the imagination and deepen a sense of place during a festival that will feature several stops enlivened by art works, performances, and other cultural experiences.

The City of La Crosse, with the Pump House Regional Arts Center as its primary partner, will receive $25,000 to support a community engagement process, curricula in art-making for local students, and completion of a mural in the La Crosse Arts District. Trompe-l'oeil artist John Pugh will lead community workshops to design a mural and engage regional apprentices in the painting and installation of it. Pump House Regional Arts Center, La Crosse County, Downtown Mainstreet, La Crosse School District, and other community partners will come together to inform the community planning activities, accompanying educational initiatives, and design of an iconic mural that celebrates the city's riverfront culture. The mural activities are particularly focused on engaging African American, Hispanic, Hmong, and Ho Chunk residents in the La Crosse area.

The City of Madison, with the Madison Public Library Foundation as its primary partner, will also receive $25,000 to support “The Bubbler,” a free and accessible public program led by local artists, designers, craftspeople, and technology experts through hands-on pop-up workshops. The Bubbler programming will be hosted at libraries and community centers to engage the general public in the process of art making. Participants can expect to create animated short films, practice screen printing, build furniture, create music, or design objects. Partners include City of Madison Arts Program, Madison Public Library, Madison Public Library Foundation, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Art and School of Education.  Fueled by the opening of a new central library, and the effort to adapt library services to better meet the needs of residents, this will be a maker-focused program for all ages.

“The Wisconsin Arts Board congratulates all of the people involved in these three successful, Wisconsin projects,” stated George Tzougros, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board.  ““Whether it is bringing people to see and prize our rural landscape in new ways in Sauk County, bringing diverse communities together to create public art in La Crosse, or bringing artists to “pop-up” maker spaces to help people explore their own creativity in Madison, the work that Wisconsin’s artists and cultural organizations are doing is making a difference in our state.  That difference is resulting in healthier communities, stronger economies, and people who are better able to make their own creative places.”

Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity.

"This is an exciting time to announce the Our Town projects as a national conversation around creative placemaking advances and deepens," said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "The NEA leads on this topic not only through our funding but through webinars, publications, and research. With these resources, we will help to ensure that the field of creative placemaking continues to mature, enhancing the quality of life for communities across the country."

The NEA received 254 applications for Our Town this year. Recommended grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 with a median grant amount of $50,000.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at http://www.arts.gov/news/news13/Our-Town-Announcement.html. Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and creative placemaking resources are available as well.

The Twitter hashtag is #NEAOurTown13

The Wisconsin Arts Board is the state agency which nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage.  For more information on the Wisconsin Arts Board, please visit www.  For information on Wisconsin arts and cultural events, please visit www.portalwisconsin.org.