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Announcing Phase Two of We the Many

Two young people dance around a chair as others gather around them, as part of Dia de Los Muertos cultural celebration at La Luz Centro Cultural.
Photo Credit: La Luz Centro Cultural
Youth and community members gather at Dia de Los Muertos cultural celebration held at La Luz Centro Cultural in November of 2022.

Midwestern organizations Sacred Pipe Resource Center, For the Love of the Arts, and La Luz Centro Cultural are taking part in the second round of Arts Midwest’s community-based artist-in-residency program.

Today, Arts Midwest announced three new organizational partners participating in We the Many, a community-focused artist-in-residency program supported in part by the Mellon Foundation. Sacred Pipe Resource Center (Mandan, North Dakota), For the Love of the Arts (Northwest Indiana), and La Luz Centro Cultural (Hampton, Iowa), have each received a $100,000 grant for We the Many projects taking place in 2023.

We the Many is a program that supports Midwestern communities in the creation of their own unique artist residency experiences. By having artists embedded in communities, and leading creative activities, the program encourages the exchange of voices, cultures, and ideas.  Arts Midwest works directly with local organizational partners, who have full financial and planning oversight of their community’s artist residency. Residencies center the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and immigrant community members across the Midwest.

In its first phase (2019-21), We the Many connected immigrant artists and artists of color to communities through performing arts activities. All residencies were created by organizational partners Art on the Prairie (Perry, Iowa), Honeywell Foundation (Wabash, Indiana) and Sisseton Arts Council (Sisseton, Veblen, and Agency Village, South Dakota).

In 2022, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Arts Midwest staff, and other regional connections identified potential partners for Phase Two using a racial, cultural, and economic equity lens. Sacred Pipe Resource Center, For the Love of the Arts, and La Luz Centro Cultural were all recognized for their successful creative and cultural community work.

Each of the three partners have hosted conversations to identify needs, themes, and assets in their communities. Partners are now selecting and working with their artists-in-residence, as well as organizing and hosting creative events. In addition to residency activities, partners are gathering virtually each month to exchange ideas, skills, and creative processes. Voices for Racial Justice will guide conversations in these virtual gatherings, bringing invaluable perspective and a racial justice lens to this community-building work.

“We’re thrilled to support our organizational partners as they create residencies for and by their communities. These organizations truly embody Midwestern creativity, and we’re so excited to see what they create as part of We the Many.”

Arts Midwest President & CEO Torrie Allen

Meet our Organizational Partners

For the Love of the Arts

For the Love of the Arts, Inc. is a Northwest Indiana non-profit that promotes more equitable access to the arts for all people. The mission of FLA is to positively impact the lives of our participants and urban communities though hands-on group-based arts instruction and community projects.

For the Love of the Arts empowers youth by fostering creativity and positive self-expression through visual and performing arts which instill life skills, love of learning, and self-confidence. Students are taught and mentored by working artists who share a love for developing the talent of others in their community. For the Love of the Arts’ teaching artists incorporate mental wellness techniques into the curriculum to help students develop tools that are fundamental to personal fulfillment and becoming vital members of the community.

For the Love of the Arts was founded to support and develop young artists in discovering their voice as future leaders. Since their founding, they have expanded to reach all ages and demographics, enriching the lives of our participants and the communities we serve. For the Love of the Arts believe that art and creative expression are essential to building strong thriving communities that preserve cultural identities, promote belonging, and cultivate social change.

People of many ages and ethnicities gather in a multi-use art and craft space. A person close to the camera smiles while hoding a stack of sticky notes
Photo Credit: Crystal Price
Local artists and project partners join together for a community visioning party at For the Love of the Arts in December of 2022.

 La Luz Centro Cultural

La Luz Centro Cultural, based in Hampton, Iowa, is a non-profit that empowers individuals and families within the Latin community. Founded in 2013 by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PBVM), La Luz CC transitioned to community-based leadership in 2018. Their mission is to promote cultural awareness and diversity with hospitality and supportive services for all.

With a focus on education, La Luz CC provides many of the necessary tools for Latin community members in North Central Iowa to overcome barriers to their essential needs. As a bridge between the Spanish-speaking community and the English-speaking community, including government officials, businesses, and other agencies, La Luz Centro Cultural strives to foster more equitable community integration. They accomplish this through cultural events: celebrations, cooking classes, annual Gran Festival; bilingual children’s programs: after-school program, reading club, 4-H club; adult education: English classes, computer classes; supportive case management for survivors of crimes: emergency assistance, interpreting, counseling; immigration services: family-based petitions, naturalization applications, civics tutoring; and general social service navigation.

A group of young people stand in front of a offrenda at a at Dia de Los Muertos cultural celebration. A yound boy in the front has his head painted as a skill.
Photo Credit: La Luz Centro Cultural
Youth and community members gather at Dia de Los Muertos cultural celebration held at La Luz Centro Cultural in November of 2022.

Sacred Pipe Resource Center

The Sacred Pipe Resource Center (SPRC) is a North Dakota- and Native-based non-profit. The mission of SPRC is to address and support the social/cultural, emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical needs of Native people of all Tribes living in the Bismarck-Mandan and surrounding area to foster strong, self-sufficient individuals and families, and to provide liaison services between Native and non-Native people in order to foster a cohesive community.

SPRC was founded by a group of individuals who are committed to the SPRC mission of maintaining a home-away-from-home for the off-reservation Indian population. The founders of the organization realized the need for an organization to support and connect off-reservation individuals and families while they may be living away from their homelands, as well as respect the sovereign nature of their individual Tribal citizenship.

The SPRC office is located in Morton County (Mandan, ND) and is adjacent to the Standing Rock Reservation. The relationship between the Standing Rock reservation and Morton County was severely strained in 2014-2015 when the Dakota Access Pipeline protest began (NoDAPL). The issue was reminiscent of historical clashes and trauma of the railroads and gold rush in this region.

As a Native-based organization, SPRC sees the arts as an integral part of the reconciliation and healing that has not always happened in this region. They believe there is much work to be done in reconciling our past and creating a shared future. SPRC supports creatives in the region not as a compartmentalized group but as human beings functioning within community. SPRC support the arts in whatever forms help us connect, heal, and be good relatives and friends to one another.

A group of Native artists sits around at table at Sacred Pipe Resource Center.
Photo Credit: Sacred Pipe Resource Center
Rock Your Mocs Off artists and entrepreneurs participate in one of several sessions at Sacred Pipe Resource Center in November of 2022.

“Reciprocity, collaboration, and humility are guiding values of We the Many. As we embrace the ongoing creative work led by our partners, we seek to understand, represent, and support Midwest communities throughout this process and beyond.”

Crystal Celeste Price, Program Manager

We the Many is a project of Arts Midwest with generous support from the Mellon Foundation and in partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, and North Dakota Council on the Arts.

Arts Midwest is also generously supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, Wisconsin Arts Board, 3M, Crane Group, and individual donors and partners.