We the Many is a project of Arts Midwest that seeks to expand the understanding of what it means to be a Midwesterner through the creative exchange of voices, cultures, and ideas.
Arts Midwest’s values are guiding principles of our programming for the Midwest region. We approach our partners, communities, and each other with trust and accountability. We count on applicants to uphold these values in their own communities.
We the Many is a pilot program that begins and continues with community conversations to build a performing arts residency with underrepresented Midwestern artists or artistic ensembles that may include immigrant, refugee, Indigenous, or African-American artists, in three rural Midwestern communities.
By bringing together a variety of voices in the community, the community will identify their assets; build their partnerships; determine the neighboring communities that will join them; and develop a purpose for their residency.
Connectors from the community, a cultural advisor, and Arts Midwest will select a Midwestern artist to join the project. The residencies will take place over the course of calendar year 2020. Residencies may include multiple visits by the artists and a variety of activities that will engage audiences and provide opportunities to share personal stories.
This program is made possible through community-driven work led by these pilot organizations selected by Arts Midwest in partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, and South Dakota Arts Council.
Art on the Prairie in Perry, IA (population 7,700)
Art on the Prairie is a nonprofit organization that brings together artists, entrepreneurs, and community members through arts programming. After a population decline in the 1990s, Perry, IA has experienced a population resurgence due in part to an influx of Latinx residents, who now make up over forty percent of the town’s population.
Sisseton Arts Council in Sisseton, SD (population 2,500)
Sisseton Art Council’s mission is to build an appreciation and awareness of the arts by recognizing resources and promoting cultural enrichment. The town of Sisseton, SD is located on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, which is home to the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Indian tribe.. Today, approximately half of the population of Sisseton is Native American. The small but diverse community has city, county, and tribal governments with a tribal college.
The Honeywell Foundation in Wabash, IN (population 10,600)
The Honeywell Foundation is an organization dedicated to enhancing the livability of the region through world-class performing arts programming across multiple communities. The area was first home to the Miami Nation of Indians. Today, Native American residents and people of color comprise approximately five percent of the population of Wabash County.
Arts Midwest’s staff has joined the communities on this journey, from the planning to programming to celebrating We the Many. We promise to provide significant financial and programmatic support, including:
- A $45,000 grant for residency planning and implementation.
- Performing artist fees and related travel, lodging, and per diem paid by Arts Midwest.
- An advisor for curatorial and cultural guidance in the selection of the artists.
- Attendance at the Arts Midwest Conference in Minneapolis (September 4-7, 2019) for partners, artists, and advisors, including a special We the Many pre-conference workshop on September 4.
- Site visits from Arts Midwest staff to assist with onboarding, artist selection, residency planning, and final reflection.
- Training and technical assistance from Arts Midwest’s Creating Connection team and other partners.
Christy Dickinson, senior program director, 612.238.8019
Michael Johnson, community engagement manager, 612.238.8063
We the Many is made possible because of you, your communities, and your artistic voices. We the Many is a project of Arts Midwest with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, and South Dakota Arts Council.