Twelve Small Arts and Culture Organizations (SMAC) Launch Joint Fundraising Campaign in Milwaukee

November 14, 2023 – MILWAUKEE. During the 2020 lockdown 12 small Milwaukee-area arts organizations started meeting regularly to problem solve, create, and support each other when the world was shut down. 

These 12 small arts organizations quickly realized that they are stronger together and after three years of collaboration have launched a fundraising campaign for sustainable financial support within the broader Milwaukee arts community. The Milwaukee Small Arts and Culture Cohort (SMAC) is made up of 12 organizations with arts-based missions. These organizations improve the arts eco-system city wide by providing intimate, approachable, accessible experiences that change lives through artistic programs that create community, enhance education and improve mental health. SMAC members serve as key catalysts on the path toward a more inclusive and diverse creative community.

The Small Arts and Culture Cohort members are grateful for the support of Create Wisconsin and their fiscal sponsorship.  Anne Katz, executive director, when asked about this decision states, “I am in awe of the creativity, dedication, and persistence, shown by all the cohort members as they seek resources to make their individual and collective missions come alive.  SMAC is really a model of collaboration, cooperation, and partnership towards a common goal.  I am certain that they will have continued success, growing strength and sustainability for their creative work.”

Collectively, the organizations that make up SMAC are diverse, and so is their audience, reaching all 46 zip codes within Milwaukee County, engaging the community, enhancing education, and improving mental health. In recent months, the fundraising campaign has built some great momentum. SMAC has received $126,500 in pledges toward our three-year goal of $945,000 and are so grateful to all who are investing, including the Heil Family Foundation.

Upcoming Presentations.

If you are looking to learn more, SMAC has two upcoming presentations: 

Friday December 8, 11:30 am to 1 pm at Bader Philanthropies, 3300 N Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Dr.

OR Tuesday December 12, 1-2 pm on Zoom (link to be provided)

Please click on the link to RSVP. 

Impetus of the creation for the Small Arts and Culture Cohort.

Challenge: A lack of reliable funding limits small arts organizations by restricting our ability to plan for the long term, blunting our impact. 

Idea: By uniting 12 small arts organizations in one proposal, we generate a new, collaborative funding model, increasing our reach across the city and deepening our impact. 

Opportunity: A $75,000 investment for each of the 12 cohort organizations distributed over three years ($25,000 per year), for a total investment of $945,000 in the small arts sector.

About the Small Arts and Culture Cohort.

The grassroots organizations of SMAC improve Milwaukee’s arts ecosystem citywide by creating intimate, approachable, and accessible experiences that change lives. Our members foster a culture of collaboration that strengthens Milwaukee-based artists and the organizations that employ and support them. Together, we engage community members in every City of Milwaukee zip code with artistic programs across the arts spectrum to create community, enhance education, and improve mental health. Together, we believe the arts are good for everyone.

To quote Rhulene Artis, board member of CAPITA Productions: “We start with people who think the arts are for someone else. We let them know that it is about them and they have the desired skills and talent that can be shared out to others from the stage. The arts are not just for the wealthy or in another part of the city. At CAPITA, we let people know, ‘You won’t be sent away.’” 

Members of the Small Arts and Culture Cohort.

  • Aperi Animam
  • ArtWorks for Milwaukee
  • The Constructivists
  • DanceCircus
  • Ex Fabula
  • Ko-Thi Dance Company
  • Milwaukee Opera Theatre
  • Pink Umbrella Theater
  • Quasimondo Physical Theatre
  • Walker’s Point Center for the Arts
  • WoLF Studios MKE

Media Contacts:

Jaimelyn Gray, Founder | The Constructivists | 773-526-3628

Katie Cummings, Founder | Pink Umbrella Theater Co. | 414-522-9081