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Sherman Phoenix, gener8tor launch new program for Milwaukee entrepreneurs and diverse creatives

todayFebruary 13, 2023

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A new program in Milwaukee will provide “essential” business resources to entrepreneurs and creatives from underserved communities. The Sherman Phoenix Foundation and gener8tor have partnered for this year-round, artist-centered platform that will focus on supporting creative professionals from traditionally underfunded groups, including:

  • Female or female identifying
  • Non-binary
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Veterans

“Milwaukee has many wonderful resources for artists and creative professionals,” said Maureen Ragalie, director of gener8tor Art. “However, not many are able to provide funding, mentorship and professional development, particularly for artists who haven’t had access to a formal arts education. The gener8tor Art x Sherman Phoenix program is an investment in our diverse creative community.”

Ragalie hopes this will help narrow financial and support gaps seen historically within the art world, in general. Simply said, they plan to serve creatives through investment.

“Diversity, equity, inclusion and access in the arts is incredibly important,” she added, “but the short answer is that by not supporting or funding certain creative voices, we are losing out on diverse perspectives, cultural richness, and some really cool artwork.”

Backing for this endeavor also comes from funding the Sherman Phoenix Foundation received from the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Diverse Business Grant. Dr. Stacia Thompson, executive director of the Foundation, said they’re excited to support the entrepreneurial and small-business ecosystem in greater Milwaukee.

“The purpose of the diverse business assistance grant program was to provide funding to assist Chambers and nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to small businesses owned by those who’ve been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and just in general,” Thompson said. “We were awarded in the second round, being recognized as an organization that had already been doing this but now are able to amplify our efforts.”

Year-round programming provided by gener8tor Art x Sherman Phoenix is free and open to the public, and will include community events like workshops, webinars, artist talks, one-on-one office hours and mentorship opportunities.

In addition, the program will offer a one-month Master Class Series around building a professional art practice. A seven-week accelerator program will also happen twice per year in which participants receive seven weeks of individualized mentorship on how to strengthen the business side of their art practice.

Individual artist grants of up to $10,000 will be available to Milwaukee-based artists who participate in the accelerator program. The deadline to apply for the first application cycle is Feb. 26, with the selective seven-week accelerator program beginning on April 10. Artists and mentors interested in learning more or getting involved are encouraged to visit gener8tor Art.


Written by: Kim Shine

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