University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Press Release

UWM’s Basting wins MacArthur genius grant

Basting is the first UWM faculty member to earn the MacArthur Foundation’s highest honor.

By - Sep 22nd, 2016 11:50 am
Anne Basting

Anne Basting

MILWAUKEE_University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee theater professor Anne Basting has been named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, making her the first UWM faculty member to earn the esteemed MacArthur Foundation’s highest honor.

Basting, 51, was one of 23 new fellows announced by foundation late Wednesday night, and each will receive $625,000 to pursue whatever projects they desire. The unrestricted fellowships, colloquially known as “genius” grants, are awarded to people who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

“Waves of gratitude go to all the people that have ever said yes to agreeing to do a project with me over the years, and in Milwaukee, that’s a huge network now,” Basting said. “I’ve done national and international work, too, but the depth of collaboration and support from Milwaukee has been huge.”

Basting’s focus at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts is on community-engaged performance, and she’s an expert on integrating arts into aging services and long-term care. She’s founder of the Creative Trust, an alliance that fosters lifelong learning through the arts, and which supports a Student Artists in Residence program that trains and embeds students with aging services organizations.

Among Basting’s many other projects are TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, The Penelope Project and the Islands of Milwaukee. They all exhibit the kind of creativity and community involvement to which Basting has devoted her professional career, and which ultimately drew the foundation’s attention.

“While our communities, our nation and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope,” MacArthur President Julia Stasch said. “They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication and impact inspire us all.”

Basting is the sixth person to earn a fellowship while living in Wisconsin, and the first since Milwaukee’s Will Allen, founder of Growing Power, was honored in 2008.

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