By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jul 12, 2022 at 1:01 PM

Wanna help spread joy through art? The 2022 Joy Engine Community Challenge invites local artists and organizations to showcase how Milwaukee’s diverse array of neighborhoods creatively express feelings of joy.

There’s no limit to where the inspiration for the creative projects is drawn: murals, mosaics, poetry, dance and other forms of artistic interpretation will all be considered.

The five winning applicants will receive a grant of up to $10,000 to fund their proposed projects. 

The application period is open now through Friday, August 5, 2022.

The community challenge was created as part of Joy Engine's mission to serve as a positive, unifying force in Milwaukee.

Special consideration will be given to applications for projects aimed at improving public spaces, boosting civic engagement, supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and pursuing innovative ideas to support Milwaukee-area neighborhoods.

“In today’s polarizing environment, it’s easy to get swept up in the never-ending news cycle and give in to negative sentiment,” said Joy Engine President, Doug McDonald. “We wanted to find an opportunity to bring ‘joy’ back to the surface, as well as empower the talented local artists and organizations who provide hope, inspiration, and healing to our neighborhoods every day.”

To be eligible for the award, the projects must:

  • Take place in the neighborhood in which the artist lives or works, and be located in the City of Milwaukee.
  • Be publicly accessible without admission or fees.
  • Include documentation both during the process and of the completed project.
  • Additionally, individual artists must partner with a leading organization to be eligible. A leading organization can include a community-based organization, a local business improvement district, a nonprofit, etc.

If a selected project is located within a public space, JOY ENGINE will facilitate the connection between applicants and the City for any permitting or liability insurance needs.

“We already know that advancing public art is key to creating a more equitable and vibrant community,” says JOY ENGINE Executive Director, Steph Salvia. “We hope this challenge inspires some really cool ideas, and we’re excited to help bring them to life through our grants.”

The winners of the 2022 JOY ENGINE Community Challenge will be selected via a judging panel in September, including select JOY ENGINE board members and:

  • Thea Kovac, Visual Artist and Art Educator
  • Nirmal Raja, Interdisciplinary Artist
  • Mutope Johnson, Marketing, Community Engagement and Program Manager
  • Lajwanti Waghray, Owner, Red Crane Films
  • Debra Brehmer, Director, Portrait Society Gallery
  • Derek Mosley, City of Milwaukee Municipal Court Judge

The winning submissions will be assessed in three areas: whether the proposed projects are in line with the topic of joy; can deliver the creative design and impact intended by the community challenge; and can meet the capacity to be executed within the given timeline.

Artists who are interested in participating in the community challenge are encouraged to review the eligibility requirements and submit an application here.

Applicants and others with questions can email

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.