Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

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


By - Jun 1st, 2021 11:42 am

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 341 individual artists and twenty artist collectives for a total of 383 artists who have exhibited their work throughout North America, and in Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia. More than $202,900 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 2020 winter cycle 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 June 1, 2021 and January 31, 2022 for the Summer Cycle).

As opportunities to exhibit, screen, and travel return, we encourage artists to apply for funding. For this transitional cycle, we will continue to waive the usual two-year waiting period before re-application for those receiving shipping awards of less than $500. Those receiving these mini-shipping grants in the summer cycle will be eligible to reapply in the next 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 is open now. Approximately $7,500 will be awarded in each cycle. The guidelines are now online at For those without computer access, paper applications are available from Polly Morris at or (414) 446-8794.

The Suitcase Export Fund was created to increase opportunities for local artists to exhibit outside the four-county area, and to provide more visibility for individual artists and their work as well as for greater Milwaukee. In a typical year, the fund assists approximately thirty artists, enabling them to take themselves, and their work, around the world. Applications have been down significantly during the pandemic, but as more venues reopen, postponed exhibitions are being rescheduled and new calls are going out.

Artists take advantage of Suitcase travel to layer on residencies, meet their counterparts (activists, organizers of DIY spaces) in other locations, or undertake research on new projects. These trips often open doors. Awardees seek out connections with local artists, and they keep an eye out for ideas and projects that could be adapted back home. As they meet other artists and collectors, or begin relationships with galleries, they are able to explore future collaborations, make plans for artist and curatorial exchanges with the host city, or make the essential contacts filmmakers require to get their work in front of an audience. Many Suitcase awardees embrace the opportunity to share opportunities with their colleagues in Milwaukee.

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.

In the Winter Cycle, awards went to three individual artists: Jacquelin Valadez and Felipe Pagan Cancel (traveling separately to Nave Proyecto in Guayllabamba, Ecuador), and Carey Watters (traveling to Made Labs in Siracusa, Italy).

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 1,400 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

Mentioned in This Press Release

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