About We the Many
We the Many is a community-based artist-in-residency program hosted in three states at a time across the Midwest. We the Many supports existing and new creative community-building initiatives in a priority area of each state based on a racial, cultural and economic equity lens.
We the Many strives to build off the creative work already happening in communities and looks to culturally connected and embedded organizations to take leadership, working directly with local organizational partners, who have full financial and planning oversight of their community’s artist residency. Residencies center Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Native and Immigrant community members. The program begins with community conversations and visioning that leads to selecting an artist-in-residence, or a series of artists-in residence, in response to the needs, key themes, and assets identified in this process.
We the Many regularly brings together our participating community partners and lead artists from across the region through virtual gatherings to share ideas and process. Through storytelling and relationship-building, we learn from each other and celebrate the creative work happening in each of the communities leading residency projects. Arts Midwest staff and other regional facilitators support and guide the conversation in these gatherings.
We the Many is currently in its second phase. Keep scrolling to learn more about our amazing partners!
Do you know of an organization already doing creative community-building work in the Midwest? Are you involved or leading an organization that centers BIPOC, Immigrant, and/or Native communities? Reach out to us! We would love to connect and explore the possibilities of supporting this important work.
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, North Dakota Council on the Arts (2022-2024), and South Dakota Arts Council (2019-2021).
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.
Phase I: 2019-2021
In 2021–2022, each of our organizational partners received an additional $28,000 as part of a residency project extension to deepen and continue the impact of their work.
Art on the Prairie
Perry’s We the Many spanned visual art, storytelling, community placemaking and more, encouraging local residents to tell their stories and come together.
Wabash’s We the Many brought programming directly into schools. Working alongside Chicago-based artist-in-residence, Ana Velazquez, students of color in Manchester Community Schools were able to express themselves and their creativity through theater classes and public performances.
Sisseton Arts Council
Sisseton, Veblen & Agency Village, South Dakota
Sisseton’s We the Many spurred art shows, traveling galleries, pop-ups, art classes, and new albums of music.
Phase II: 2022-23
Additionally, Voices for Racial Justice supports monthly cohort virtual gatherings for artists and project collaborators across the region, bringing invaluable perspective and a racial justice lens to this community-building work. Organizational partners and Arts Midwest staff take leadership in these conversations as well, bridging skills, perspective and group collaboration.
Sacred Pipe Resource Center
Mandan, North Dakota
The mission of Sacred Pipe Resource Center 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 in order 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
For the Love of the Arts
For the Love of the Arts, Inc. is a Northwest Indiana based non-profit organization that promotes more equitable access to the arts for all people.
La Luz Centro Cultural
La Luz Centro Cultural, based in Hampton, IA, is a non-profit and 501(c)3 organization empowering individuals and families within the Latin community.
We the Many Stories and Updates
Transforming Lives Through Art in Northwest Indiana
June 7 2023
For the Love of the Arts uses creativity to help break the cycle of violence. Through their mental wellness education, social skills practice, and artistic courses, this unique organization provides…
Art as a Catalyst: Indigenous Expressions in North Dakota
May 31 2023
The Sacred Pipe Resource Center, a Native community center in Mandan, North Dakota, empowers Native artists to become catalysts for change to help heal their communities.
A Light for the Latino Community in Iowa
May 22 2023
Built on community, La Luz Centro Cultural provides a unique space for Latinos in rural Hampton, Iowa. Basado en la comunidad, La Luz Centro Cultural entrega un espacio único para…
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