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The Third Annual Local Spark Grant Program Information

Local Spark

Enter Now for the 2016 Local Spark Award!

Thank you for your interest in the Local Spark Award! The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and WEA Trust are hosting the third annual Local Spark Award in 2016, granting three $3,000 awards to Wisconsin cities and villages. Our goal is to support local people with the vision, passion and drive to spark something special in their community.

This year’s entry window is Monday, June 27 – Monday, August 8. Submit your project online here.

We look forward to learning more about your vision, passion and drive!

What is the Local Spark Award?

Congratulations to the 2015 Local Spark Winners!

WEA Trust and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities hosted the 2nd Annual Local Spark Award this summer. More than 70 cities and villages in Wisconsin submitted a project that would brighten up their community. Thanks to everyone who champions Local Spark in Wisconsin, and congratulations to this year’s winners: 

City of Oshkosh – Lake Fly Art Installations 

Oshkosh is home to Lake Winnebago, the Fox River, and for two weeks at the beginning of each summer—swarms of Lake Flies. Instead of seeing these flies as pests, the City wants to celebrate the unique bug that brings the community together. 

“We would like to dedicate an art project that represents all that the Lake Fly means to our citizens,” wrote Assistant Planner Alexa Naudziunas in Oshkosh’s Local Spark entry. “The Lake Fly indicates the changing of the season, and they help us find the positive in a potentially messy situation.” 

A portion of the $3,000 Local Spark grant will be used to purchase art supplies and construction materials for students at both Oshkosh West and Oshkosh North high schools. 

Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings added, "Involving high school students has been a key component of this exciting community adventure since its inception during the League Conference in 2014.”

City of Ashland – Lake Tunnel Mural  

A white, cement pedestrian tunnel is the only way for Ashland residents and tourists to travel from downtown to Lake Superior’s waterfront without crossing busy Highway 2. The City of Ashland—known as the Historic Mural Capital of Wisconsin—views the tunnel as a blank canvas.

“Our waterfront is our most important community asset,” wrote Assistant Planner Rose Spieler-Sandberg in her Local Spark entry. “Our vision is to work with the general Ashland community including artists, area youth and persons with disabilities to create a partially painted and partially mosaic'ed mural in the pedestrian underpass.”

The mural will feature local lake creatures. Community members will create fish, birds, and mammals using pieces of stained glass over a painted backdrop. 

“Public murals are central to the Ashland community,” said Spieler-Sandberg. “People get really excited each time that a new historic mural is created.  This new mural, though not historic, will contribute to that asset.”  

Sheboygan Visual Artists – Kaleidoscope Art Workshops

Kaleidoscope, a Sheboygan Visual Artists (SVA) community art initiative, is on a mission to help kids and families living within Sheboygan’s three homeless shelters express themselves through creative art forms.

“I saw firsthand the positive effect art had on my patients,” said Judith Schmidt, one of Kaleidoscope’s project leaders and a retired occupational therapist. “While volunteering at a local homeless shelter, I had an encounter with a little girl who was expressing anxiety about her situation, and it sparked the idea of offering art workshops to homeless children and their families.”

The Kaleidoscope workshops will be taught by volunteer artists from the SVA group and will provide participants with a wide variety of art experiences through various art mediums. 

“The Local Spark Award is a wonderful gift,” said Schmidt. “The $3,000 will go toward art supplies, child safe tables and chairs, and storage spaces.”

Honorable Mentions

We'd like to give special recognition to the other top 2015 Local Spark projects. Thank you for your vision, passion, and drive!

  • Betsy Bleck, Oconomowoc
  • Katie Lowery, Waunakee
  • Tina Thompson, Tomah
  • Simone Jones, Kenosha
  • Lodi Dog Park, Lodi
  • Ian Haas, Village of Big Bend
  • Tosa's All-City Read Program, Wauwatosa
  • Christine Vorpagel, Tomahawk
  • Cairie Virrueta, Elkhorn
  • Kya Schnettler, Fond du Lac
  • Alex Young, Rhinelander
  • Stephanie Grigg-Remillard, Campbellsport
  • John D. Smith, Manawa
  • Jim Schaefer, Horicon & Mayville
  • Samantha Jefferson, Neenah
  • Dave Flynn, Neillsville