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Wisconsin Fire
21 Dec 2013
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Bob Gard loved baseball and he loved small communities.  There is a wonderful chapter on The Arts & Health in his The Arts in the Small Community. 

When an opportunity to make a grant to a youth baseball team, Wisconsin Fire, presented itself, the Foundation saw a unique opportunity: kids, their families and communities gathering together with the idea to mix in some art, specifically, poetry!

Poems by Wisconsin authors connected with the towns in the League were presented to all the fans in attendance, and the opening pitcher began each game by reading a poem by a Wisconsin poet.

In this way, the line between "sports" and "arts" was blurred, a new twist was added to an old game, and many people became aware of the poetry all around them. A favorite was the Ft. Atkinson poet, Lorine Niedecker:  Fish/fowl/flood/Water lily mud/My life.  Gard's own poem, Prairie Acre, awakened the kids and the crowds: We own a nation open, wide and free,/Walk out as I did. Seek the prairie sea;/We opened all the doors for you and yours,/Find the new prairie and come home to me. This grant enabled a new grassroots perspective.

Funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board made possible a symposium on community arts development and the arts.  Funding also made possible one-time mini-grants for activities or programs embodying  ideas discussed during the symposium, identified by board members.

This project was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.




Performance Poetry Cross-Cultural Education Local Rural Youth Books/Writing School/Camp Midwest Poet Writer ArtsinHealing Baseball GardFoundation Wisconsin
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