Mary L. Nohl Fund for Individual Artists Now Reopened

(posted: Jun 02, 2011)

The Bradley Family Foundation, in collaboration with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF), announces the second half of the eighth funding cycle of the GMFs 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), 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 123 individual artists and five artist collectives exhibiting throughout North America, and in Europe, Africa, the former Soviet Union and Asia. The awardees, who have received a total of $77,500 in grants, work in a variety of media, from film to ceramics, and include 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. (For a list of awardees from the first half of the 2010 cycle, see below.)

The second half of the cycle, which commences on June 1, 2011, will make another $5,000 available. A total of $10,000 will be disbursed to visual artists in 2010-2011. Applications and guidelines are available at (click on Suitcase Export Fund) or from Polly Morris at

The eighth cycle (December 2010-November 2011) has been divided into two parts to ensure that funds remain available to applicants throughout the year. In recent years, as the popularity of the Suitcase Export Fund has grown, all monies were disbursed rapidly, and eligible artists whose opportunities arose after the initial months were unable to apply for funding. In 2010-2011, the Suitcase Export Fund is operating on a semi-annual cycle, disbursing awards in response to demand until the funds for each part of the cycle are exhausted. The first part of the cycle began on December 1, 2010 and was completed in February. A total of $5,000 was awarded.

The Suitcase Export Fund is open to practicing artists residing within the four-county area who want to export their work beyond that area for public display. Priority is given to artists with exhibitions outside of Wisconsin. The Fund provides support in three areas: transportation of the work (packing/shipping/insurance); transportation of the artist; and promotion in those cases where the artist is required to provide their own promotion. The maximum grant available to an individual is $1,000. Funding is only provided for upcoming opportunities: therefore, for this cycle, exhibitions or screenings commencing between June 2011 and November 2011 will be considered.

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 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.


In the first half of its eighth cycle, the Fund provided assistance with shipping, travel and promotion to nine individual artists. These artiststhree of them past Nohl Fellowswork in a range of media, and are taking work to Montana, Georgia, Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, Illinois, Thailand and Italy.

Nicole Brown was able to screen her short documentary, A King in Milwaukee, at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana.

Santiago Cucullu received funding for a solo exhibition at Galleria Umberto DiMarino in Naples, Italy. Cucullu will be showing several watercolors and two videos, and will also make a sculpture and wall piece while he is there.

Faythe Levine attended the first screening of Handmade Nation (a film completed while Levine was a Nohl Fellow) in Thailand at Free Size just outside Bangkok. This was Levines first appearance in southeast Asia, and she followed the screening with a discussion that covered such topics as the empowerment of working with ones hands, reclaiming craft and making it your own, and the politics of the handmade. She also led a workshop on any skill-level embroidery and a roundtable discussion about craftivism.

Kim Miller will offer two programs in conjunction with her residency at the ComPeung Artist-in-Residence Program in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand. The ComPeung Village of Creativity program is designed to bring together local and international artists and the community; the project team is made up of professional artists and local tribal people. Miller will screen her latest work (much of it created while she was a 2009 Nohl Fellow) as part of an exhibition of work by local artists. At the end of the residency, Miller will show the live performance and videos she has created with Thai artists; it will be part of a community presentation.

Will Pergl participated in an exhibition at ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art in Athens, Georgia, a non-profit art space. Pergl transported several large elements required to install a sculpture that was 30 x 10 x 20.

John Ruebartsch took his solo exhibition of 33 recent photographs, Here, There and Elsewhere: Refugee Families in Milwaukee to Bowling Green State University Student Union Art Gallery in Bowling Green, Ohio. The exhibition, a photo-documentary of refugee households in Milwaukee, originated at Walkers Point Center for the Arts. Ruebartsch participated in a panel discussion with local scholars sponsored by the Ethnic Cultural Arts Program and School of Education.

Valorie Schleicher exhibited two photographs in the juried group exhibition Fish & Fishing Art at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon. The work, in all media, is exhibited alongside items from local tribes reflecting the long tradition of fishing on the Oregon coast.

Sonja Thomsen received funds to exhibit a 12-panel photographic piece entitled Petroleum in the New Mexico Museum of Arts survey, Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment.

Christopher Willey was awarded funds for a solo exhibition at the Prairie Street Gallery in Rockford, Illinois. The gallery is run by the Art Matters Co-op, an artists cooperative. The show included paintings, drawings, prints and an installation, and represents the culmination of three years work. Willey, who received a Suitcase award in 2006, noted that it was a fantastic experience which propelled my career.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundations mission is to strengthen communities through effective partnerships. It is made up of over 1,000 charitable funds, each created by individual donors or families to serve the charitable causes of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties and beyond. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the U.S. and abroad.

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


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