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Arts organizations encouraged to apply for 2017 Project Grants

The City of Milwaukee Arts Board (MAB) brings accessibility and enjoyment of the arts to our culturally diverse community by awarding matching funds for arts programing and arts education experiences to eligible arts organizations in the city.  Guidelines and Applications for 2017 Project Grants were recently posted.

“We want to support our city’s talented creative professionals in bringing high quality arts experiences to a broad cross section of our community,” said Ald. Michael Murphy, who chairs the board.

MAB encourages funding requests from not-for-profit arts organizations offering arts programs, exhibits or performances that are open and accessible to the people of Milwaukee. These may be free or require paid admission. Eligible organizations must have an administrative office located in the City of Milwaukee. The postmark deadline is March 6, 2017.

In 2016 the Milwaukee Arts Board awarded $217,000 in amounts of either $3,500 or $7,000 to 33 arts organizations. Grants ranged from $3,500 to Tessa’s Black Entertainment and Youth Center for “A Journey Through Dance” concert, to $7,000 to First Stage in support of an original play celebrating Milwaukee’s historic Bronzeville community.

Organizations, especially first time applicants, are strongly encouraged to attend a MAB grant writing workshop on one of two dates:  Tuesday, Feb.7, from 9:30-11 a.m. in the first floor board room at 809 N. Broadway; or Thursday, Feb. 9, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the community room at Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd.  Staff will be available to answer questions and provide assistance through March 5.  Please contact:  Sally Witte, MAB Grants Administrator, at or 414-286-5794.

Milwaukee Arts Board invites applications for Public Art Conservation and New Work Funds

The City of Milwaukee Arts Board today released guidelines and applications for Public Art Conservation and New Work Funds. Requests for both funds will be accepted starting Jan. 1, 2017.  Conservation applications are due no later than Jan. 31, 2017.  New Work applications are due Feb. 28, 2017.

Up to $15,000 is available for Public Art New Work in 2017.  The Public Art Subcommittee seeks strategic partnerships with organizations, neighborhoods, and artists to commission new public art in the City of Milwaukee. The Arts Board is willing to consider large projects for which the board is a smaller catalytic funder, as well as smaller projects in which the board would be an equal partner.   In 2016 the Arts Board awarded $11,000 to Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum for “Happiness Project: Under Construction; $7,000 to Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail for “The Milwaukee Road Monument; and $2,500 in support of “Temporary Resurfacing,” an outdoor multi video projection installation.

Concurrently, the Arts Board is launching its 12th cycle of funding devoted to conserving public art in the City of Milwaukee. The goal of the fund is to preserve that part of the city’s cultural and civic heritage embodied in its public art. The fund supports the conservation of works that are historically, culturally and aesthetically important to the city.

In this round, $5,000 will be available to conserve public art in the city. Grants will be made in increments of $1,000, with no single award greater than $5,000. Qualifying works must be fully accessible to the public.  Most recently $5,000 was awarded to the Wisconsin Black Historical Society for repairs to the wall where a mural “The Gift” was later painted, and $4,436 to the Juneau Park Friends toward restoration of the Leif Erickson and Solomon Juneau statues in Juneau Park. 

To alert the Public Art Subcommittee to a piece of public art that requires conservation or to pose questions about the application or funding process, contact the arts board at  A comprehensive list of public art in the City of Milwaukee can be found on Wikipedia.

Della Wells & Dasha Kelly named 2016 Artists of the Year; Thallis Hoyt Drake & Andy Nunemaker named Friends of the Arts

Della Wells and Dasha Kelly have been named 2016 Artists of the Year, the City of Milwaukee Arts Board announced recently.  Thallis Hoyt Drake and Andy Nunemaker were named 2016 Friends of the Arts.

They will be honored Tuesday, June 14 at a 4:30 p.m. reception in the atrium of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts followed by an awards program and celebration at 5 p.m.  Representatives of 33 city-based arts organizations who received arts board grants will also be honored. RSVP here

“We’re glad to shine a light on these four individuals, who have contributed so much to our entire community,” said Ald. Michael Murphy, who chairs the Milwaukee Arts Board.

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City of Milwaukee Arts Board awards $217,000 to 33 arts organizations

An effort to enable more individuals with disabilities to tell their stories on Ex Fabula stages, a series of cultural interactions with a classical music ensemble from Cuba, and an original theatrical production celebrating Milwaukee’s African-American Bronzeville community during the 1950s are among 33 projects awarded funding recently by the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.

At its May 10 meeting the MAB approved the recommendations of an eight-member citizen review panel to award $217,000 in grants ranging from $3,500 to $7,000.  MAB grants require a dollar-for-dollar cash match from other sources, and the combined budgets of the 33 selected projects this year is more than $2.9 million.  There were a total of 47 requests from nonprofit arts organizations to fund art, music, dance, arts education and other projects. Read More

Milwaukee Arts Board

Optimist Theatre

Project Grants

The Milwaukee Arts Board (MAB) Grant Program serves to bring accessibility and enjoyment of the arts to the citizens of our culturally diverse city. We do this by essentially "purchasing" arts programming and arts education from  Milwaukee's eligible arts organizations.  By so doing, we provide a measure of financial support to our vibrant and exciting arts community. The MAB promotes the formation and growth of artistic projects or programs that are administered by and responsive to the needs of Milwaukee's racial and ethnic minority communities. Grant guidelines and applications are released annually in January.


Public Art Conservation Fund

The Milwaukee Arts Board Public Art Conservation Fund preserves that part of the city's cultural and civic heritage embodied in its public art. Funds are made available every six months, releasing applications in January and July. Works of art must be located in the City of Milwaukee and must be fully accessible to the public. Priority will be given to art works of particular historical, cultural or aesthetic importance. Priority will also be given to projects with a well-formulated fundraising plan and evidence of fundraising sucess.


Public Art New Work Fund

The City of Milwaukee Public Art Subcommittee seeks strategic partnerships with organizations, neighborhoods and artists to commission public art in the City of Milwaukee. Although the Arts Board's public art resources are limited, the subcommittee can use its technical expertise to assist in the preparation of RFQ's and selection processes, and can work with partners to select artists and leverage resources.


Artists of the Year and Friends of Art

A memorial bequest in honor of local artist and MAB member Jim Chism launched the first Artist of the Year Award in 1995.  Additional funding comes from donations.  Artists are nominated for the award by members of the Arts Board.

In 2012 the MAB created a new award, "Friends of the Arts," to recognize those who, often behind the scenes, have demonstrated exemplary support to the arts community.


About Us

The Milwaukee Arts Board (MAB) was created to enhance the development, cultural diversity, accessibility and enjoyment of the arts for Milwaukee's citizens. All regular meetings of the Milwaukee Arts Board are scheduled for the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 4:00 p.m. and are held in Room 301-A or 303 of City Hall, 200 E. Wells St. Dates and location are subject to change.

The Arts Board provides a range of support to arts and community organizations that produce innovative projects or programs. Additionally, the MAB is committed to supporting public art projects that provide a sense of place, celebrating our community in city neighborhoods, parks and public spaces. For specific information about the MAB please contact Sally Witte at 414-286-5794 or


Milwaukee Public Library - East Branch

The Milwaukee Arts Board partially funded works by two local artists at the new East Library Branch, which officially opened on November 22, 2014. Read more about the project on the library website.

  • kathryn e. martin
  • Santiago Cucullu

Contact Us

City of Milwaukee Arts Board
809 N. Broadway, 2nd Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 286-5794

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MAB Project Grant Info
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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.