Laura Thompson

Northwestern Mutual Plans Unique Show

Art exhibit features artists with state ties and celebrates impact of local non-profits.

By - Dec 18th, 2017 10:40 am
Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Beginning this February, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation – the charitable arm of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – will host an art exhibition commemorating their 25 years of philanthropy. The foundation has hired 17 visual artists with Wisconsin ties, and will partner each with local non-profits to create artworks celebrating the work of these organizations.

“We are bringing 25 years worth of stories to life through art, highlighting our commitment to the communities we serve and celebrating the work we’ve done in partnership with outstanding nonprofits,” said John Schlifske, chairman and CEO of Northwestern Mutual.

The 26 featured non-profits are divided into five general categories: community connections (which includes the United Performing Arts Fund, the United Way, the American Red Cross, and Milwaukee Succeeds), childhood cancer, empowering education, neighborhood connections (which includes Feeding America, the Dominican Center, and Sojourner Family Peace Center), and community destinations.

As part of the project, each organization will receive a $10,000 grant from the foundation. Over the past 25 years, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation has given $320 million to local non-profits, mainly focusing its efforts on improving education, searching for cures to childhood cancer, strengthening neighborhoods and supporting Milwaukee’s cultural life.

The works and artists represented in the exhibition will be diverse in style and scope. Cuban-born artist Eduin Fraga (who now lives in Green Bay) is creating newspaper and paint collages to celebrate Milwaukee Public Schools and the United Community Center. Milwaukee folk artist Della Wells made a red jacket with symbolic imagery to celebrate City Year, the program which uses AmeriCorps members to tutor and mentor students in danger of dropping out. And abstract sculptor Tom Queoff riffs on taxidermied pigeons in his tribute to the Milwaukee Public Museum.

The free exhibition will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons beginning in February 2018, and will continue for one year. Visitors will be encouraged to get involved — through donations or volunteer work — with the organizations featured in the show. The exhibition fits well within the aims of the Northwestern Mutual Art Program, to “start meaningful conversations, inspire thinking and stimulate curiosity.”


Here is the full list of participating artists and non-profits:

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