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Milwaukee Arts Board Announces 2022 Mildred L. Harpole Artists of the Year And Friends of the Arts Awards


Artists Ck Ledesma and Nirmal Raja were named the 2022 Artists of the Year, while Cynthia Henry and Ray Nitti (Rayhainio Boynes) were named the 2022 Friends of the Arts.

“Our arts community is unique and makes our city special. Artists and creators throughout Milwaukee are full of creative energy that adds value to our neighborhoods,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “I am proud to honor this year’s Artists of the Year and Friends of the Arts. These individuals are leaders in Milwaukee’s creative community who are helping position this city as an inclusive arts and cultural hub.”

“The 2022 Artists of the Year and Friends of the Arts represent the depth and range of Milwaukee’s arts community,” said Alderman Nik Kovac, Chair of the Milwaukee Arts Board. “Congratulations to this year’s award recipients. It is through your art and advocacy that we better understand - and love - our city and world.”

Read more HERE.

City of Milwaukee Arts Board to Continue with Sustaining Grants in 2022

At its July meeting, the Milwaukee Arts Board (“MAB”) announced it is continuing the sustaining grants program that serves to bring accessibility and enjoyment of the arts to Milwaukee residents. Recipients may apply funds toward program, administrative or facilities costs. The grant is open to eligible nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations (for at least 2 years as of the application deadline date) with a physical administrative office located in the City of Milwaukee.

The MAB grant program is funded by the City of Milwaukee with additional support from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. The MAB also awards matching funds for New Works of Public Art and Conservation of Public Art.

Sustaining 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 doing so, 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 Artist in Residence Program

The Milwaukee Arts Board is piloting the Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) program to invest in the city’s cultural creators by leveraging the knowledge and practices of local artists to build a stronger Milwaukee. Under the PAIR program, a local artist will be hired by a City of Milwaukee agency or department to develop, strategize, promote, and implement artist-driven solutions to complex civic challenges. The intended outcome is for the artist and City representatives to assess community needs, as well as develop and improve programs and initiatives through creative problem-solving.

PAIR Details

Public Art Conservation Fund

The Milwaukee Arts Board Public Art Conservation Fund preserves that part of the city’s culture and civic heritage embodied in its public art. In 2022, applications will continue to be considered on a rolling basis as long as funds remain. 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 success.

Public Art Conservation Fund Guidelines and Application

Public Art Fund Final Report

Recent Projects

Mildred L. Harpole Artists of the Year and Friends of the Arts

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 2019 The Arts Board voted to rename the Artists of the Year Award in honor of the late, beloved member Mildred L. Harpole.

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.

Mildred L. Harpole Artists of the Year - past recipients

Friends of Art - past recipients

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 Svetic at 414-286-0739 or [email protected].

Arts Board Members

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

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

(414) 286-0739
[email protected]

Learn more about meetings, members and agendas of the Milwaukee Arts Board and Public Art Subcommittee on Legistar.

E-Notify Email Eotifications
View City Art Collection Inventory

2022 MAB Sustaining Grant Guidelines and Application

2021 Final Report

Acknowledgment requirements

Download Logos

MKE Arts Board Logo (eps)
MKE Arts Board logo (jpg)
MKE Arts Board logo (black/whitejpg)
WI Arts Board logo

Wisconsin Arts Board. Creativity, Culture, Community, Commerce

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


Mural Guidelines: Historic Preservation Commission

(For locally designated historic properties)

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