THE ORGANIZATION: Rise Up Central Wisconsin, Inc. (RU) grew out of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Coalition. Established in 2017, RU’s mission is to “heal, strengthen, and unify” through its mural arts program. RU builds community and promotes healing by creating teams of artists and service providers who mentor program participants – typically marginalized community members, some of whom are in recovery from addiction – as they create public art murals. At “Community Paint Days,” members of the community contribute to the murals. As these groups work together, some of the stigmas that surround marginalized populations begin to lessen. RU has installed three murals in Wausau, with a fourth to be installed during Summer 2021.
THE PROJECT: RU would create a HUB gathering space for past participants who long for an ongoing relationship with other RU participants and volunteers. At this welcoming, supportive HUB, RU participants will continue therapeutic art activities under the guidance of paid staff. In addition, the HUB will provide a home for RU to further its goals of fostering equity, building resilience, unifying the community, and promoting strong alliances between service organizations. The $100,000 Impact Grant would finance space and programming in Whitewater Music Hall’s “art wing” for a two-year period.
THE NEED: RU does not currently have a dedicated location for creation, painting, and healing. The murals that have been installed at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau on the Water, and the Frontier Building were painted in sections in the “home” spaces of the supporting organizations (e.g. EEA Learning Academy) and at community paint days. A dedicated location will provide a needed space for mural painting and ongoing healing through art, and will also serve as a home for this young nonprofit. Because Rise Up’s fundraising efforts are primarily dedicated to its murals, the HUB will not be realized soon without this Impact Grant.
USE OF IMPACT100 GRANT FUNDS: RU would spend Impact Grant funds over a two year-period, beginning in June 2021. The funds would cover rent and insurance ($26,000), as well as furnishings and a mural on the walls ($10,000). Additionally, the Impact Grant would cover salaries for the HUB’s resident artist and grant writer ($53,000), and programming and marketing supplies ($11,000). The HUB’s anticipated opening is September 2021.
FUTURE EXPECTATIONS / SUSTAINABILITY: RU has developed an evaluation tool that is rooted in a Results Based Accountability framework. The methodologies used involve interviews, focus groups, case studies, and secondary data review. After the funds from the Impact Grant are spent, RU anticipates funding the HUB by sub-renting its space during hours when the HUB is not open. For example, the space could be rented hourly by professional artists, by families to host children’s birthday parties, or by adult groups who want to host painting parties. RU will also allocate some of the Impact funds to employ a grant writer to assist with securing additional funds for the nonprofit.
FROM THE GRANT COMMITTEE: “The passion and enthusiasm displayed by Rise Up’s Board and artists is contagious. The Impact Grant will give them the boost to grow, to continue to promote healing, and to make an impact, one person at a time.”