Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund for Individual Artists Suitcase Export Fund Launches Fourteenth Funding Cycle

The Fund contributes to the creative health of the region by supporting local artists at all career stages.

By - Nov 30th, 2016 08:33 am

The Bradley Family Foundation, in collaboration with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF), announces the fourteenth funding cycle of the GMF’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Suitcase Export Fund for Individual Artists. 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 260 individual artists and fourteen artist collectives exhibiting throughout North America, and in Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia. The awardees have received a total of more than $146,000 in grants and work 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 2015 awardees.)

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 December 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 for the Winter Cycle; similar opportunities commencing between June 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 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 Winter Cycle opens on December 1, 2016, and the Summer Cycle will open on June 1, 2017. Seven thousand five hundred dollars will be awarded in each cycle. The guidelines are now online at, and the electronic application will open at 11 am on Thursday, December 1. For those without computer access, paper applications are available from Polly Morris at or (414) 446-8794.

Artists have responded very favorably to the Suitcase Export Fund and its simple application process. The Fund contributes to the creative health of the region by supporting local artists at all career stages, from the emerging to the established; alleviating some of the financial burden faced by artists who want to exhibit their work at a distance; and by getting the work of Milwaukee artists out into the world. The support provided for artist transportation has enabled artists to be on site to install work–important to most artists and indispensable to those working in the areas of installation, performance, and site-specific art. The opportunity to attend openings, where artists can meet with collectors and distributors and make critical connections with gallery owners, is consistently cited as a significant benefit. The Fund also creates opportunities to expose work in new regions and to new audiences, to meet other artists and see their work, to sell work, and to plan new projects. Although the Fund does not directly support residencies or ancillary activities, awardees have taken full advantage of opportunities to make new work, deliver gallery talks, and participate in symposia at their exhibition sites.

Many of the 2015 awardees spoke of being proud to represent Milwaukee, and representing it well. Being present at openings, exhibition venues, and screenings has consistently created opportunities for artists, and often for their home community, such as future collaborations or plans for artist and curatorial exchanges with the host city. Some artists took advantage of the travel to do research or to promote their home institutions. Others, like Kyle Jablonski, reveled in the release from quotidian routine: “It was very exciting to be able to spend that amount of time thinking about my work, thinking about effective ways to install it, and talking with other artists about our respective practices.” Lessons were learned and kinks were ironed out: how to build a crate and navigate international shipping; how to make a collaborative group show function as an integrated exhibition. Artists commented frequently on the value of being able to show their work to new audiences, in new places. When Erik Ljung showed his film about the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton to an all-white audience for the first time, it was important for the filmmaker “to bring the issue closer to home by humanizing the individuals directly affected.” Conversely, some awardees have already found local opportunities to show work made specifically for their Suitcase exhibitions. Most importantly, artists described what the support meant to them. “On a most basic level,” observed Kim Miller, “the award from the Suitcase Export Fund is a small confirmation of my commitment to myself as an artist.” For Josh Hunt, participating in his first international exhibition, it was “a good feeling to be recognized and have my work supported through the Suitcase Fund.”

Artist Mary L. Nohl of Fox Point, Wisconsin, died in December 2001 at the age of 87. Her $9.6 million bequest to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is one of the largest gifts the Foundation has received from a single donor in its 101-year history. The Fund, by supporting local visual arts and arts education programs, keeps Nohl’s passion for the visual arts alive in the community.

In its thirteenth cycle, the Fund made 23 awards, providing assistance with shipping and travel to twenty-two individual artists (some of them applying as groups traveling shows outside Milwaukee), one duo, and one collective. These artists–five of them Nohl Fellows—work in a range of media and their exhibitions took them to Sonoma, California; Denver, Colorado; Millerton and New York, New York; Minot, North Dakota; New Brighton, Minnesota; Ashland and Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; and Park City, Utah. Destinations abroad include Scheifling, Austria; North Vancouver, Canada; Kolkata, India; Monte Castello di Vibio, Italy; Nikko and Tokyo, Japan; Sibiu, Romania; and London, United Kingdom.

After School Special is heading to Philadelphia with two cars full of artists and work. Each of the nine members of the collective (including 2015 Nohl Fellow Zach Hill) is making something for an exhibition at Little Berlin curated by Brett Suemnicht.

Sara Caron is transplanting her nomadic bar, the Bermuda Triangle, to Misako & Rosen in Tokyo. There, the project will be reshaped by new ingredients, new practices, new experiences, and a new audience. The Bermuda Triangle is an experiment in just what is needed to make a space, and to create, build, and contribute to a community around that space.

Cynthia Hayes traveled to Kolkata, India, for a solo exhibition of her paintings–which focus on Southeast Asian art history–at the government-run Academy of Fine Arts Central Gallery. She spoke at the opening, met many Indian artists, appeared on national television, and was able to use some of her time in India to do museum research.

Sheila Held (Nohl Fellow 2013) shipped several tapestries to the Center for Art, Faith and Culture at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota, for a solo exhibition. The gallery noted that Held’s work was “a constant topic of conversation” among the students, and that public events were well-attended.

Alexander Herzog exhibited a new body of work–eight paintings, some of them large–in a solo show at Geary Contemporary in New York. Because of the Suitcase support for shipping, the gallery was able to print a catalogue, and they also decided to represent Herzog.

Joshua Hunt sent two paintings that “represent misogyny as a historically systemic issue” to STOPJECTIFY, an invitational group exhibition at Gallery Different in London organized by artist and freelance curator Jess de Wahls to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Kyle Jablonski participated in a two-person exhibition, Jabroni, Jabroni, Jabroni, at the Shipman Gallery in Brooklyn. He spent four days in New York installing, meeting artists and seeing lots of work, and attending the opening. Back in Milwaukee, the exhibition “freed me up to install another show” at a local restaurant. Jablonski has discovered that “putting challenging art in familiar places” enables people to unpack its meaning far from the restrictions of the gallery space.

Maeve Jackson and Keith Nelson were each invited to spend time at Hotel Pupik in Scheifling, Austria. Their residencies culminated in public exhibitions that responded in specific ways to the site. Hotel Pupik hosts up to thirty artists each year from around the world; they live and work on the grounds.

Kayle Karbowski used her month-long residency at MASS Gallery in Austin to “get back into a rhythm with her work and ideas” and to give her personal practice her undivided attention–for the first time since completing her BFA–as she prepared for her solo exhibition. She also spent time with other artist-organizers who share her interest in finding a balance between studio and community, and who are also navigating smaller “art cities” that operate outside the national spotlight. Upon her return, Karbowski was able to show her new work in Chicago.

Recent MIAD graduate Nicholas Kinsella was invited by a fellow alum to exhibit at Pacific Northwest College of the Arts in Portland, Oregon, on a series promoting exchange between PNCA students and emerging artists from around the country. The solo exhibition included films recorded on VHS, sculptures that function as props in the videos, and clothing designed for the characters.

Greg Klassen created a site-specific “Nature Table”–a self-generating sculpture of plants growing in studio debris–on site at the Re Institute gallery in Millerton, New York. Located in upstate New York, the Re Institute is a working farm that hosts small group shows in its hayloft; their goal is to allow artists to observe their work in a new context.

Matthew Konkel (screenwriter/co-producer) and Erin Maddox (producer) attended the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah where their feature-length narrative film, Neptune, was accepted for competition. They were on hand to support the film and seek distribution.

Matthew Warren Lee had a painting selected for the First Street Gallery’s 2016 National Juried Exhibition. It was his first opportunity to exhibit outside the Midwest, and he met curators, gallery directors, and other artists at the opening in New York. While in the city, he visited museums and learned more about the gallery ecosystem in Manhattan.

Erik Ljung was invited to screen Mothers for Justice, a short film he completed while a 2014 Nohl Fellow, at the Sonoma International Film Festival in Sonoma, California. Ljung, who is making a feature-length film on the same subject, met with distributors, investors, and fellow filmmakers.

Longtime collaborators Lindsay Lochman and Barbara Ciurej mounted a solo exhibition of work that addresses sustainable food policy at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center in Denver. While in Colorado they met fellow photographers, worked with high school students, participated in a panel discussion with other artists and members of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Network, undertook museum research, scouted sites for future projects, and met with the director of a gallery in Fort Collins who promptly offered them a show. They also made connections in Colorado Springs, and agreed to host the Mobile Garden of a local Denver food justice organization when it travels to the Midwest in 2017.

Shane McAdams was the sole Wisconsin participant in an exhibition of mostly Oregonian artists at the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He co-curated Exploring Reality with Scott Malbaurn, the director of the museum, wrote the catalogue essay, and gave a talk.

Jessica Meuninck-Ganger headed to Italy for a solo exhibition of intaglio print assemblages and paper architectural structures at the International Center for the Arts Monte Castello di Vibio. The exhibition is part of a program promoting contemporary applications of traditional intaglio printmaking and handmade papermaking in the region known as the cradle of modern papermaking. The artist shared her research on sourcing native plant materials and fibers for papermaking and pigments and delivered a lecture in the local theatre.

Kim Miller (Nohl Fellow 2009) took part in Life/Death, a program of experimental documentaries curated by Lana Lin and Cauleen Smith on the Flaherty NYC series at Anthology Film Archives in New York. She was on hand for the screening of her video, Madame Mae Nang Nak, and the Q&A that followed.

When Madeline Power screened Across the Line at the Astra Film Festival in Romania in October, she was the first virtual reality filmmaker to show VR work in Eastern Europe. As the resident expert, she was much in demand for panels and received invitations to speak at future events.

John Riepenhoff (Nohl Fellow 2009, 2014) will spend a month at the Troedsson Villa residency in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nikko, Japan, making plein air paintings and working with local potters to develop a set of usable ceramic ware. At the end of the month, Tokyo’s XYZ Collective will host a public event featuring the paintings and a shared meal served on the new ceramic ware. Riepenhoff looks forward to bringing his production experience back to Milwaukee, where he is designing a collaborative ceramics studio.

Greg Schoeneck was invited to make a live painting at the charity auction that is part of the one-day Art World Expo in North Vancouver, Canada. He brought additional work, some of which remained on view at MAB Studios after the event.

Tori Tasch exhibited “Tokyo”–an accordion-fold sculptural book made following a Suitcase Fund-supported trip to that city in 2013–in Paperworks 2016, a national exhibition at the Northwest Art Center in Minot, North Dakota. Attending the exhibition helped Tasch to plan the 2017 Wisconsin Visual Artists exhibition, which is devoted to paper.

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 nearly 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.

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