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Community Stories

We the Many began as a community listening project in summer 2019. From the start, the project sought to use creativity, empathy, and optimism to support three Midwestern towns in building new bridges within and beyond their communities.

In the beginning, that work included hosting conversations in our three partner communities: Perry, Iowa; Sisseton, South Dakota; and Wabash, Indiana. We came together to celebrate community assets, co-create new arts experiences, and coordinate artist-in-residence programs that would bring people together to explore Midwestern identity and vitality.

But over the following two years, our communities were faced with unprecedented challenges: the uncertainty and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic, a long overdue racial justice reckoning, and the ongoing threats of unwelcoming immigration policies.

Yet through these unprecedented times, we were repeatedly shown the depth and strength of Midwestern resilience. We were shown how Midwesterners use collaboration and deep listening to build community. We were shown how they use creativity to support community wellbeing. And we were shown the immense beauty of coming back together after a year apart.

These are their stories of resilience, togetherness, and hope.


Click the circles to explore community stories


Celebrating Place + People

Sisseton, Agency Village, and Veblen, South Dakota

Getting Creative Online

Sisseton, Agency Village, and Veblen, South Dakota

Connecting Communities

Sisseton, Agency Village, and Veblen, South Dakota


Exploring Storytelling

Perry, Iowa

Capturing What’s Good

Perry, Iowa


A Path Towards Welcoming

Wabash and North Manchester, Indiana

Student Growth

Wabash and North Manchester, Indiana

Artes Latinas

Wabash and North Manchester, Indiana



In the News

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We The Many on In The Moment

A virtual artist in residence program is not exactly new given the circumstances of living through a pandemic. But, when the Sisseton Arts Council was presented the opportunity during the early stages of COVID-19 the concept was still new to the area. Proving he was up for the challenge, Minneapolis-based Brazilian-American artist Alex Hathaway quickly alleviated any concerns by making several calls to key figures in the local arts community in an effort to understand the land, the people, and the energy. Read More >

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Growth Across Distance in South Dakota

In South Dakota, on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, something magical is taking root. Learn how this community is connecting and growing through We The Many despite never having met their resident artist in person. Read More >

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Once Upon a Time in Perry

Erik Dominguez, a professional storytelling coach in Des Moines, will soon begin an artist-in-residence project with the Perry nonprofit Art on the Prairie to help locals develop and perform 5- to 10-minute personal stories — and to encourage their friends and neighbors to do the same. Read More >


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.