Open Fund Press Release

Winter 2023/2024 Cycle Artist Project Grant Now Open

February 26, 2024 Milwaukee, WI

The artist-run Open Fund in collaboration with The Poor Farm is pleased to announce the expansion of its public facing visual arts grant program from a total of $60,000 in awards distributed last cycle to $120,000 this cycle. This is made possible with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regional Re-granting Program and The Ruth Foundation for the Arts Wisconsin Artist Grant.

For its third grant cycle The Open Fund Artist Project Grant will continue to support visual artist initiatives that are experimental, collaborative and public oriented. This will include wide-reaching and innovative projects that are unique to communities and the cultures at large. Examples from last year’s grant recipients can be found here: 

Grant recipients this year may also include support for the presentation of creative and experimental work via exhibition series, film screenings, pop-up presentations, zines and media, broadcast work, educational models, and civic sites in addition to other inventive models of artistic engagements organized by artists living in Milwaukee County. 

The Open Fund Artist Project Grant will award a total of $120,000 of grants in $5,000 to $10,000 increments to artist-organized projects in Milwaukee County. A jury of artists and curators from outside the region will select the program recipients. This year’s jurors are artists and arts organizers: Candise Davis (Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis), Tatsuhiko Togashi (Lavender Opener Chair, Tokyo), and Haynes Riley (Good Weather Gallery, North Little Rock and Chicago). 

This cycle continues our support of public facing artist-run-initiatives. Applicants are encouraged to apply with proposals that reimagine the form and content of public facing visual art initiatives. A great emphasis on experimentation and collaboration is encouraged. Applicants must live within Milwaukee County but do not need to be US Citizens. 501c3s, commercial galleries, incorporated businesses, commercial studios, and most students are not eligible to apply.

The Open Fund Artist Projects Grant application is open now and closes March 25, 2024 at 11:59 pm (CST). Recipients will be notified in April and funds will be distributed by May 2024. Application information and more details can be found at

A virtual q&a session for the grant will be held on March 16 at noon. If you’d like to attend please email with questions or RSVP and you’ll receive a link to the session. 

John Riepenhoff, artist and director of The Open says, “The Open Fund supports artists who design and create activities that host, encourage, connect, and engage their peers. These projects celebrate great qualities of creative life in this place and connect the activities of Milwaukee artists to a wider cultural conversation. The Open Fund is proud to be part of a system that values and fosters the ideas and activities of artists and eagerly anticipates the projects that are put forth this year.”

About The Open:

The Open began in 2016 in Riverwest, Milwaukee, as a utility to support ephemeral art-makers and social platforms. It hosts a range of artist-operated venues. This project is an experiment in durational cultural investment, foregrounding the importance of place and alternative economic exchanges.

About The Poor Farm: 

The Poor Farm is an art experiment founded in 2008 at the former Waupaca County Poor Farm (built in 1876) in Little Wolf, Wisconsin. It is a not-for-profit project space and residency that supports artists and their ideas.

For more information about the Open Fund, please contact John Riepenhoff at or 414 226-1978.