Woodland Indian Arts Initiative

​​​The Wisconsin Arts Board instituted the Woodland Indian Arts Initiative in 2001. The Woodland Indian Arts Initiative provides a foundation of cultural and economic support for traditional and contemporary Native American arts in Wisconsin, and works to develop an arts network dedicated to providing administrative support of the same, representative of Wisconsin’s twelve Indian tribes, bands and urban Indian communities. The Initiative provides financial support for arts projects and efforts that directly benefit Wisconsin’s Indian communities.


The Arts Board annually distributes funds from Gaming Compact monies to support artistic activities among Wisconsin's tribes, bands and urban Indian communities. Nonprofit organizations, schools or units of government that provide direct services to members of Wisconsin’s Indian communities can apply. See Woodland Indian Arts Initiative grant program for details.

The Arts Board is currently accepting applications for the Woodland Indian Arts Individual Artist Award (IAA), a pilot program designed to recognize Wisconsin Native American artists of exceptional talent, encourage creative achievement, and to support the sustained practice of individual Native American artists. In FY20, the Wisconsin Arts Board will award one Individual Artist Award to an outstanding performing or literary artist. See the Woodland Indian Arts Initiative grant program for details. 


2014: The Wisconsin Arts Board partnered with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association in 2013-14 to conduct fieldwork in multiple Native communities across the state.  The goal was to assess the level and types of arts activities as well as to identify needs and interests in Native arts communities in Wisconsin. Three reports summarize the findings:

This manuscript documents some of the 75 master artists and 150 apprentices from Ho Chunk, Menominee, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Oneida, and Stockbridge-Munsee nations who participated in the Arts Board's Folk Arts Apprentice Program' earliest years. ​