MADISON -- Gov. Tony Evers today announced that the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) was awarded two federal grants totaling $60,000 to assist with the restoration costs of the "Forward" and Col. Hans Christian Heg statues that were damaged earlier this year. The grants are from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
In July, Gov. Evers encouraged the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board (SCERB) to consider diversifying the State Capitol statues to more accurately represent the leaders who have contributed to Wisconsin's history by honoring the late Vel Phillips with a statue on the Capitol grounds.
“This is great news and we appreciate the NEH and NEA for their support in restoring and preserving our state history,” said Gov. Evers “I look forward to not only getting Col. Heg and Forward back up on their feet at the Capitol, but also exploring new options to make the Capitol grounds a more accurate reflection of our state's diversity and history.”
The restoration process for both statues began following approval of the SCERB in July. The statues are anticipated to be reinstalled in the summer of 2021.
Gov. Evers also announced a community advisory committee working on a proposal to SCERB to erect a monument on the Capitol grounds honoring the late Vel Phillips. The committee is chaired by Dave Endres, Corporate Legal Counsel for American Family Insurance, and includes:
- Michael Phillips, son of Vel Phillips
- Michael Johnson, President and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County
- Jessica Cavazos, President and CEO, Latino Chamber of Commerce
- Anthony Cooper, CEO of Focused Interruption Coalition
- Shelia Stubbs, State Representative, 77th Assembly District
- Angela Arrington, Senior Attorney for Alliant Energy, Delta Sigma Theta
- Jake Brown, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County
- Lucy Mathiak, Former MMSD Board member, Historian
The community committee anticipates bringing a proposal to SCERB in early 2021. Phillips was the first African American woman to graduate from UW-Madison Law School, to win a seat on Milwaukee’s City Council, and to become a judge in Wisconsin. She also made national history when she became the first statewide elected African American in the state of Wisconsin as secretary of state.