NASAA Notes: February 2022

February 2, 2022

Wisconsin: Arts Challenge Initiative

Ko-Thi Dance Company performs JUBA-Lee. Photo courtesy JP Russell/Korporate Media and Wisconsin Arts Board

The Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB) is dedicated to providing equitable support to the multitude of diverse communities that make up its constituency. As part of this drive, and to fulfil WAB’s legislative directive to ensure that at least 5% of annual funding is awarded to minority group members and arts groups, WAB offers the Arts Challenge Initiative Capacity Building Program (ACI).

The ACI grant is open only to nonprofit arts organizations that are majority directed and managed by African Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans or Asian Americans and that primarily serve their respective community of color. The grant fosters capacity building and sustainable growth by providing funds for artist fees, staff salaries, strategic planning and other organizational development priorities. ACI grants offer awards up to 25% of the applicant’s operating budget and must be matched at a 1:1 ratio.

Alongside the arts organization of color requirement, ACI grants are legislatively obligated to award at least 20% of funding to organizations with operating budgets of less than $100,000. The ACI helps to ensure that WAB is able to support often-underrepresented organizations and the communities to which they are dedicated.

In its most recent fiscal year, the ACI funded eight groups from Native American, Latinx, and African American communities. Of these groups, seven were urban and located in Milwaukee. For more information on the ACI grant, contact Assistant Director for Programs & Services Karen Goeschko.