Wisconsin Grants to Artists

In April, 2023, Ruth Arts initiated it’s inaugural grant program supporting three Milwaukee-based arts organizations to offer individual grants to artists around the region. In this funding cycle, Ruth Arts will award Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design (MIAD), Lynden Sculpture Garden, and The Open Fund on an annual basis in partnership to provide individual grants to artists in their communities.

Since the launch of Ruth Foundation for the Arts, we’ve centered artists in our decision making. It was important to us to round out our fiscal year with to offer support for artists and creative practitioners in Milwaukee,” said Ruth Arts Executive Director Karen Patterson. “To inaugurate this regranting program, we selected three organizations with the infrastructure, access, or expertise to reach the communities of artists in the city. We are grateful to these organizations for piloting this program with us. They can now augment their existing support for artists and we are thrilled with the directions they chose.”

Launched in 2022, Ruth Arts has continued to expand its grantmaking and outreach across the country, while retaining a focus on its home in Wisconsin. This new program further deepens that commitment.

Image courtesy of Lynden Sculpture Garden. Photo: Claire Ruzicka

The Lynden Sculpture Garden offers a unique experience of art in nature through its collection of more than 50 monumental sculptures sited across 40 acres of park, lake and woodland. In 2022, the organization was also announced in Ruth Arts Fall Programming as a Core Grant recipient.

With support from Ruth Arts, the Lynden Sculpture Garden will expand its Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship Program, one of the longest standing and most prominent grants for individuals in Milwaukee that provides unrestricted funds for established and emerging artists. Through the new support from the Regranting Program, Lynden Sculpture Garden will increase the program on an annual cycle by funding three regional artists and one national artist $25,000 grants.

Image courtesy of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) is Wisconsin’s only four-year, private college of visual art and design, offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture and Design, and New Studio Practice: Fine Arts. Announced in 2022, MIAD is also a recipient of the Foundation’s RDK Legacy Fund—a unique program dedicated to honoring and continuing Ruth DeYoung Kohler’s steadfast support of regional and craft-based organizations and artist-built environments.

Through the support of the new Regranting Program, MIAD has partnered with Ruth Arts to create the Faculty and Staff Fine Arts Grant—a program that will support up to 15 artists with $75,000 in funding. This new program will aim to support MIAD Art faculty and staff for the research and development of new work.

Image courtesy of The Poor Farm.

The Open Fund supports visual artist initiatives that are public oriented and experimental, with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regional Re-granting Program. Examples of the 2022 grantees include the presentation of creative and experimental work via film screenings, exhibition series, pop-up presentations, zines and media, educational models, civic sites in addition to other inventive models of artistic engagements.

The Open Fund is administered by two Wisconsin artist-run spaces: The Poor Farm and The Open. With the help of Ruth Arts, the organization plans to double the amount of funding distributed in their Artist Project Grant, which provided $65,000 in funds to 12 individual artist projects in the last year.