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City of Madison's "The Bubbler at Madison Public Library" one of 59 projects selected nationwide

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced 59 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.725 million and reaching 34 states in the Our Town program's third year of funding. The City of Madison is one of those grantees and will receive $25,000 to support "The Bubbler at Madison Public Library," a free and accessible public program led by local artists, designers, craftspeople, and technology experts through hands-on pop-up workshops. The City's primary partner for this application, the Madison Public Library Foundation, has agreed to raise a required $25,000 match from private sources.

Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity.

The Bubbler programming will be hosted at libraries and community centers to engage the general public in the process of art making. Participants can expect to create animated short films, practice screen printing, build furniture, create music, or design objects. Partners include Madison Arts Commission, Madison Public Library, Madison Public Library Foundation, Sector 67, Library as Incubator Project, and University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Departments of Art and Curriculum and Instruction. Fueled by the opening of the new Central Library, and the effort to adapt library services to better meet the needs of residents, this will be a maker-focused program for all ages.

"This is an exciting time to announce the Our Town grants as a national conversation around creative placemaking advances and deepens," said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "The NEA leads on this topic not only through our funding but through webinars, publications, and research. With these resources, we will help to ensure that the field of creative placemaking continues to mature, enhancing the quality of life for communities across the country."

"NEA funding for The Bubbler will help ensure that the instruction and tools necessary to inspire engagement with art, design, and technology are accessible to all of our citizens," said Mayor Soglin.

The NEA received 254 applications for Our Town this year. Grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 with a median grant amount of $50,000.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and creative placemaking resources are available as well. To learn more about The Bubbler, visit

The Madison Arts Commission is a municipal commission that funds artistic activities and initiates cultural programs that integrate, support, and advance arts and culture as an essential part of life in Madison.

Madison Public Library's tradition of promoting education, literacy and community involvement has enriched the City of Madison for more than 136 years. Our nine locations throughout the City of Madison are open six days per week and welcome over 2.35 million visits each year. Visit the library online at


  • Karin Wolf, Madison Arts Commission, 608-263-3881
  • Trent Miller, Madison Public Library, 608-234-3866