Home News & Events What We're Grateful For

What We're Grateful For

It goes without saying that Arts Midwest has never experienced a year like 2020. As the year comes to a close, we wish to pause to express our deep gratitude for a few of the people who made this year possible.


Top: (L to R) Basak Notz, Ana Velazquez, Ry Macarayan, World Fest Online.
Bottom: (L to R) Akwi Nij, Ry Macarayan, World Fest Online, Basak Notz

Like our friends and colleagues across the country, Arts Midwest’s programs, operations, and expectations were upended by both the global pandemic and a dire call for racial justice that began in our own backyard. We have only just started to reckon with all that this year has exposed about our societies, communities, and systems. Yet through these difficult times, our partners, grantees, and community have demonstrated a powerful resilience, agility, and optimism that has inspired and humbled the Arts Midwest family.

As we look back on a year like no other, we wish to pause, acknowledge those who helped make 2020 happen, and express our deep gratitude for their support, advice, and commitment to Midwestern creativity.

We especially wish to thank:

 Illustration of Plants Growing

Our Resilience Fund Advisors

These 23 artists, arts leaders, and community members from across our region guided us through reviewing, discussing, and shaping our work around the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund. Thanks to the support and leadership of this group, Arts Midwest was able to distribute more than $3 million to 91 historically under resourced arts, culture, and creative organizations across the Midwest as they navigate the pandemic.

Headshot of woman

Our Resident Artists

The three artists piloting our We the Many program across the Midwest have helped us reimagine what it means to be an artist in residence this year when we can’t gather in person. We the Many takes Arts Midwest’s tried-and-true residency model further and invites communities to lead the planning, co-creation, and execution of a year-long artist residency. Read more about how one residency has unfolded in South Dakota, from afar, in this article.

 Illustration of Black ballerina dancing

Our Illustrators and Writers


The many Midwestern artists who used their imaginations and skills to bring our programs and stories to life through their creativity, whether through illustrations for our 2020 Conference, in depth storytelling on our blog, or custom drawings to accompany articles.

 Man surrounded by bamboo forest

Our Producers


The teams of videographers and editors in Israel, Brazil, and Japan, as well as the teams at Free Truth Media and Art Spark Texas, who helped to bring our World Fest program to communities across the region in an entirely new way this year. Watch the 12-part video series they helped us create featuring international ensembles Hikaru, Hadar Maoz, and Paulo Padilha e Bando here.

 Screenshot of Zoom call

Our Partners and Colleagues

Our friends at Western Arts Alliance and their Native Launchpad, who joined us in collaboration to pivot our annual conference to a new space, test new ways of working together, and spend four days reimagining the future of the field with more than 1,800 artists and arts leaders across the world.

The incredible staff of the State Arts Agencies across our region, who worked tirelessly to help distribute CARES Act relief funding while supporting their communities.

And our many other funders and supporters, whose contributions made this year possible.

 Arts Midwest logo

Our Team

The creative, dedicated, and hard working Arts Midwest staff and board. While this year separated us from our daily office routines, our slightly broken toaster, and our beloved coffee club, it also inspired us to come together in new ways and it allowed us to welcome new members to our team. So Kayla Aubid, Alana Horton , John Kaiser, and Maria Vorhis , while we’ve never actually worked together in person – thank you for showing up, working hard, and joining the Arts Midwest family.

Thank you for making this year possible!

Rishard Allen Kaitlyn Berle Donna Collins Rebecca Cruse Amber Danielson
Shantel Dow Marcela Garcia Karen Goeschko Troyd Geist Jennie Knoebel
Kim Konikow Hamzat Koriko Heather Miller Patty Mitchell Akwi Nji
Steffanie Rosalez Paige Sharp Encarnacion Teruel Marty Two Bulls, Jr. Lily Tung Crystal
Xavier Verna Alison Watson Chris Widdess Alex Barreto Hathaway
Erik Dominguez
Ana Velazquez Ry Macarayan Brenda Tran Sandra Trevino Greg Seitz
Basak Notz Vadhim Mehona Difusor Filmes Luan Cardoso Terutoshi Takaku
Reza Nasooti Celia Hughes Free Truth Media & YOU!