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Monday, June 24, 2024
Romeo and Juliet 2023

American Players Theatre puts on a student performance of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet in summer 2023.

Courtesy of Erin Milleville

Dane County arts grants award $115,000 to local organizations for arts expansion

Over 65 projects received grants from Dane County through county and private funding to expand art programming throughout the community.

Dane County’s Dane Arts program recently awarded local art organizations $115,193, with contributions coming from both county and private funding. 

Dane Arts released the first cycle of grants on May 14 to 65 projects, five short orders and four capital requests. The three private funding companies included Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. 

Dane County Cultural Affairs Specialist Augusta Brulla told The Daily Cardinal Dane County supports the arts because it benefits the area’s economy.

A study conducted by Dane Arts and Americans for the Arts found local attendees of art events provided an extra $38 on top of their ticket price to Dane County, while out-of-towners paid over $81 for expenses such as travel, food and babysitters. Brulla said the arts provide Dane County a “vital part of identity,” one that those both in and outside of the county can appreciate. 

The purpose of the Dane Art grants, Brulla said, is to continue the county’s commitment to art because it “reflects community belief, value, history, way of life.”

Diane Ballweg, the owner of Endres Manufacturing Company, told the Cardinal funding for local art projects has become a priority for her company.  

“I witness the creative growth, the building of friendships and the beauty of shared beauty,” Ballweg said. 

As a board member of the National Committee of Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center, Ballweg said she plans to host a committee meeting in 2025 to showcase Madison’s art events. 

Projects that received funding fell under one of several categories — arts in education, dance, local history, multidisciplinary arts/culture, music, theater and visual arts. 

Local organizations receive funding for projects, discounted tickets, art equipment

The Madison Public Library was awarded $1,951 for their iteration of a project titled “Our Town Everywhere,” a collection of self-portraits created to draw light on and celebrate the artists that make up the Madison community. 

Erin Woodard, the grants and development manager for the Madison Public Library, called the Madison project a “collaborative creation amongst the many people who call Madison home.” 

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The number of portraits made for the Madison project has now exceeded the original, created by Bryce McCloud for the city of Nashville, Tennessee. Woodard said the library is now in a curation stage, where staff will choose portraits to place in exhibits in the Central Library and other neighboring libraries. 

More exhibits are planned as well as artist residencies and workshops, which will remain free to the public due to the arts grant, according to Woodard.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum connects visitors to Wisconsin's military history through interactive media. Executive Director Jen Carlson said the grant money will help pay interpreters and actors as well as improvements to accessibility for schools to attend these productions. 

“These discussions invariably lead to reflections on who we are as Wisconsinites and how each of us impacts the community through our actions and contributions,” Carlson said.

American Players Theatre (APT) was awarded $2,052 to go toward discounted tickets and expose more students and educators to live performances, according to Annie Louis, APT’s associate development director. 

Louis said between 1,500 and 3,000 Dane County students and educators attend a morning performance, followed by a workshop, throughout the show season. 

The artists at APT aim to connect students to classical works, such as Shakespeare, because “they communicate the human condition in a way that no one else can,” APT Education Director David Daniel said. 

“It’s not just about our teaching artists saying it or performing it, but for the students to hear it and feel it,” Daniel said.

High school and college students are offered 50% off APT tickets when they order the week of the show. 

Many of these organizations have in-house support with donations and volunteers, but Sarah Schaffer from the Friends of Allen Centennial Garden said the Dane Arts grant will help pay their musicians. Schaffer said without the money, Friends of Allen Centennial Garden would not be able to run their summer concerts in the garden.

The Madison Children’s Museum is using this funding in a unique way, according to Director of Marketing and Communications Jonathan Zarov. Art studio equipment including tables, stools and booster chairs will allow the museum to increase opportunity of art expression, especially for children. 

Zarov said the grant covers these necessary items and allows the Madison Children’s Museum to focus on providing kids with non-conventional art materials to inspire creativity. 

Dane Arts will award a total of over $218,000 in public-private funds to nonprofit organizations, schools, individuals and municipalities for arts projects and other community arts programs offered countywide. 

The next project grant deadline is Aug. 1, according to the press release.

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