The Arts in the Small Community | University of Wisconsin (1969 – revised 2006)

Member News

September 27, 2018

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In 1966, Robert E. Gard and his Community Arts Development team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison received a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to assist five rural communities in a bold community arts development effort in whatever way was most relevant to them. In 1969, The Arts in the Small Community: A National Plan was published.

This pioneering program focused on five rural Wisconsin towns: Portage, Waupun, Rhinelander, Spring Green and Adams-Friendship. This updated version of the report, published in 2006, includes additional, modern examples from across the country. The original 1969 publication is available for download from The Gard Foundation.

It’s clear that the perspective of this program is not limited to rural communities. Wholistic development of the community via the arts, and development of local participation in the arts, is relevant in any small community, whether rural or in an urban neighborhood.


This publication is supported in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Challenge America program and from The Evjue Foundation, Inc

Published by the Robert E. Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation c/o the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters 1922 University Ave. Madison,WI 53705 and The Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts Division of Continuing Studies University of Wisconsin-Madison 610 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53703

Copyright © 2006 by Maryo Gard Ewell and Michael Warlum Design: Kirsten Dickey, OffCenter Designs Gunnison, CO • offcenterdesigns@roadrunner.com

Printed by Americans for the Arts Washington, D.C.