Skip to content

We the Many

We the Many is a program that supports communities in the creation of their own unique artist residency experiences, encouraging the exchange of voices, cultures, and ideas relevant to each community context.

In an auditorium, five people with various musical instruments smile and wave at the camera, and behind them there is a large audience of students smiling and waving at the camera.
Photo Credit: Jarochicanos

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 its first phase, We the Many connected immigrant artists and artists of color to communities around performing arts activities. All residency activities were created in partnership with community members, seeking to leverage existing assets, and emphasizing connecting to neighboring communities. Planning committees received a $45,000 grant, an advisor for artist selection, training, and additional assistance to create an artistic residency.

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.

Phase II: 2022-23

We the Many is currently in its second phase working in communities across North Dakota, Iowa, and Indiana. Community partners from the region are programmatic and financial leaders of $100,000 of funding for the project. Our partners are creative and cultural organizations already doing critical work in their communities. Program leadership and capacity-building support are exchanged between local community partners, artists, BIPOC regional community leaders and Arts Midwest staff throughout the program.

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.

Have questions about We the Many?

We’re just an email or phone call away.

Contact Us

Sign up for our newsletter

I am interested in...
Please confirm that you'd like to hear from Arts Midwest. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We promise never to sell or share the information you provide to us on this form.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.