Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L. Nohl Fund for Individual Artists Suitcase Export Fund Launches Summer Funding Cycle, June 1


By - Jun 1st, 2020 01:55 pm

Lynden, in collaboration with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF), announces the summer cycle of the GMF’s Mary L. Nohl Fund for Individual Artists Suitcase Export Fund. Created to help visual artists with the cost of exhibiting their work outside the four-county area (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington counties), the Fund is designed to provide greater visibility for individual artists and their work as well as for greater Milwaukee. To date, the Fund has supported a diverse group of 335 individual artists and 20 artist collectives exhibiting throughout North America, and in Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia. More than $201,014 has been awarded to artists working in a variety of media, from film to ceramics. They include well-established artists as well as those at the start of their careers. A special effort has been made to support Nohl Fellows as they exhibit work made during their fellowship year. (See below for a list of 2019 winter cycle awardees.)

The coronavirus pandemic brought the Winter Cycle to an abrupt halt as opportunities for artists to travel or exhibit their work further disappeared rapidly. Of the twelve projects recommended for funding in that cycle, seven have been completed (though not always as planned). The remaining artists are awaiting word on opportunities that were postponed as the global public health crisis escalated. There are now signs that exhibition venues are reopening and artists are planning for future opportunities.

The Suitcase Export Fund is open to practicing artists residing within the four-county area who want to export their work beyond the area for public display. Priority is given to artists with exhibitions outside of Wisconsin. The Fund provides support in two areas: transportation of the work (packing/shipping/insurance) and transportation of the artist. The maximum grant available to an individual is $1,000. Funding is only provided for upcoming opportunities (exhibitions or screenings commencing between June 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 for the Summer Cycle).

The Suitcase Export Fund opens twice a year, disbursing awards in response to demand until the funds for each cycle are exhausted. The Summer Cycle opens on June 1, 2020. Approximately $7,500 is awarded in each cycle. The guidelines are now online at, and the electronic application will open at 11 am on Monday, June 1. For those without computer access, paper applications are available from Polly Morris at or (414) 446-8794.

In addition to selling work, meeting artists and collectors, or beginning relationships with galleries, awardees encounter a range of benefits. Being present at openings, exhibition venues, and screenings has consistently created opportunities for artists: future collaborations; plans for artist and curatorial exchanges with the host city; the essential contacts filmmakers require to get their work in front of an audience.

In the past, artists have taken advantage of Suitcase travel to layer on residencies, meet their counterparts in other locations, or embark on new projects. They hone the skills required to navigate the profession: taking work through customs, booking venues, preparing to make work on site in a new city, gaining a firmer understanding of what is reasonable to promise organizers, presenters, and gallerists. Veteran artists extend their networks and are tapped for their expertise. Many awardees connect with local artists, and they keep an eye out for ideas and projects that could be adapted back home.

In the Winter Cycle, awards went to ten individual artists and two collectives, thus serving a total of 16 individuals: Peter Barrickman, Santiago Cucullu, Current Projects (Brent Budsberg, Shana McCaw, Alec Regan, Joseph Thrasher), Jon Horvath, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Shelby Keefe, Katie Avila Loughmiller, Molly Hassler, Open Kitchen (Alyx Christensen, Rudy Medina), Nathaniel Stern, Ariana Vaeth, and Janelle VanderKelen. The completed projects, three of them involving Nohl Fellows—took artists or their work to exhibitions in Bologna, Italy; Johnson, Vermont; Mexico City; New York City; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Wickenburg, Arizona; and Winchester, Massachusetts.

Artist Mary L. Nohl of Fox Point, Wisconsin, died in December 2001 at the age of 87. She left a $9.6 million bequest to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Her fund supports local visual arts and education programs, keeping her passion for the visual arts alive in the community.

For more than a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,300 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world and is now among the largest.

For further information about the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists program and Suitcase Export Fund, please visit

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