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WEA Trust Grant Celebrates Wausau's History of Jazz and Blues Music

City of Wausau Wins $3,000 Award for River Rhythms Initiative

WAUSAU, WisconsinAs part of the 3rd Annual Local Spark Award, WEA Trust awarded the City of Wausau a $3,000 grant for the River Rhythms initiative—featuring a large, free standing wind chime and interactive public exhibit.

In Wausau, the River District is the central hub for all things arts and music in central Wisconsin. To continue to cultivate art and community, an art plan was developed to emphasize and embrace the rich culture of arts and the history of jazz and blues music.

Elizabeth Field, Executive Director of the Wausau River District, wrote in her Local Spark submission, “This installation will be unique to Wausau and will be a spark the enlivens our community.” River Rythms hopes to feature a wind chime trail along the river walk trail that connects the downtown to the new River life development, ending with the large, interactive wind chime funded by the grant.

“The mayor is declaring 2017 the year of the arts in Wausau,” Field said. “We are at an exciting turning point of acknowledging and really celebrating the rich history we have and the incredible local talent we are so fortunate to have.”

 “We are excited and honored to be able to provide this grant for Wisconsin Municipalties,” said Jon Klett, the Trust’s Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Development. “I always look forward to reading all of the inspiring new proposals each year,” said Klett.

In partnership with League of Wisconsin Municipalities, WEA Trust created the Local Spark Award to recognize and reward innovation in Wisconsin’s cities and villages. This summer, WEA Trust received dozens of project proposals from around Wisconsin, which were reviewed by a panel of four judges:


Jerry Deschane – Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities

Dan Hill – Local Government Specialist at the UW-Extension

Terry Estness – Executive Director, Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce

Steve Cummings – Mayor, City of Oshkosh and former Local Spark Award Winner


The City of Wausau was one of three Local Spark Award winners chosen by the selection committee. Other winners include the City of Waukesha for a city-wide art initiative and Escuela Verde, a project based school in Milwaukee, for a social and eco-justice related mural.



The WEA Trust provides group health insurance and administrative services to public employers throughout Wisconsin. The not-for-profit WEA Trust was created in 1970 to serve Wisconsin school district employees. Today, the WEA Trust offers its top-rated service and quality benefits to all state, county, and municipal groups.