Reedsburg-based Wormfarm Institute has received a $100,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for its Farm/Art DTour, a 50-mile self-guided tour through area farmland. Wormfarm Institute received an Our Town grant in 2011 and is part of the NEA’s ArtPlace program.

“We are thrilled with this investment in Sauk County’s future,” said Donna Neuwirth, Wormfarm Institute executive director. “This matching grant will be used to plan, implement and evaluate the DTour for 2014 and 2015. As the principal partner in this project, Sauk County is unique as the only rural county in the state with an arts and culture granting program. Modest investment by the county over time has made this and other grants possible. Though Wormfarm is the nonprofit that applied for the grant, it is collaboration between Wormfarm, the county, the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and many generous volunteers (that makes this happen).”

This year’s Farm/Art DTour is taking place as part of Fermentation Fest from Oct. 4 to 13. Neuwirth said Fermentation Fest is recognized nationally as an innovative approach to rural economic development.

“With continued local support, we see a bright future ahead,” she said.

Commissioned artists for the tour this year are: Actual Size Artworks and Katey Smith of Stoughton; Emily Stover and Molly Balcom Raleigh of St. Paul, Minn.; Jeremy Mundth of Fitchburg; Jesse Lee Wilson of New York, N.Y.; John Miller of 

Madison; Karl Unnasch of Pilot Mound, Minn.; and Rita Grendze of Geneva, Ill. Details about the artists and their installations and the rest of Fermentation Fest will be available in August on the website and in the printed Event Guide to be distributed throughout the area. Visit www.fermentationfest.com or stop by the Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce to pick up your own copy of the 2013 Event Guide.

There are many ways to get involved with the Farm/Art DTour. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Katie Schofield at katie@fermentationfest.com or at 608-415-7456.

Grants from ArtPlace America, the National Endowment for the Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board and Sauk County Arts and Culture Committee, and money from the state of Wisconsin support the WormFarm Institute. Major sponsors include the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Tera’s Whey.

In Madison, a partnership between the city and the Madison Public Library Foundation will get $25,000 from the NEA for “The Bubbler,” a series of free public “maker” programs designed to pop up in area libraries and community centers.

The “Bubbler” workshops — with hands-on projects such as film animation, furniture building, screen printing and music production — will be led by local artists, designers and technology experts.

The program is expected to launch about the same time the renovated Central Library opens Downtown on Sept. 21, said Jenni Collins, executive director of the Madison Public Library Foundation.

A joint program by the city of La Crosse and Pump House Regional Arts Center also received an Our Town grant for $25,000.

The NEA received 254 applications for the 2013 Our Town grants. The three Wisconsin grants were among 59 distributed in 34 states totaling $4.725 million.

Grant recipients must raise money to match the NEA dollars, Collins said.

The Wisconsin State Journal contributed to this story.

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