Black Arts Think Tank Created To Preserve Black Cultural Organizations

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Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis

In an effort to save three small Black arts groups, three friends who run separate cultural groups in Milwaukee created the Black Arts Think Tank (BATT), an umbrella organization designed to support the arts. It is set to open on Dec. 1.

Ferne Yangyeiti Caulker Bronson of Ko-Thi Dance Company, Constance Clark of the African American Children’s Theatre and Diana Wilkins of Hansberry-Sands collaborated on BATT to help save their organizations from the economic downfall that took out other minority cultural organizations.

Cory Nettles, founder and managing director of Generation Growth Capital Inc., heard Bronson, Clark and Wilkins reveal their idea years ago after hearing the issues facing the minority cultural organizations at a meeting of the Wisconsin Arts Board at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, according to The Journal Sentinel.

“I’ve been amazed at the level of receptivity and responsiveness from donors for this new platform, and that’s kind of sight unseen, nothing delivered yet except a thesis and a model,” Nettles told The Sentinel. Northwestern Mutual, Harley-Davidson, Baird, Johnson Controls, We Energies and others have signed on to support BATT according to Nettles.

The new nonprofit’s office will be located at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and governed by a single board. Barbara Wanzo will be the executive director.

BATT will celebrate its kickoff at the “Big Band Holidays” concert featuring musician Wynton Marsalis.

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