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Take a stroll and enjoy the art of the 2021 Grilled Cheese Grant finalists

Cristina Ossers

Like grilled cheese? Well the folks at the Grilled Cheese Grant have been sharing sandwiches with supporters of the arts to raise funds for student art projects.

Rachel Hausmann Schall is one of the organizers of the Grilled Cheese Grant. She says she and other organizers were college seniors putting together their final thesis projects and were wowed by how expensive they were to finish.

“For students who are graduating, you're facing a lot of expenses just to simply go to school,” says Rachel. “So to have this additional cost of putting together, most likely your largest artistic project or artistic endeavor like to date, it can be really challenging. Especially at that point in your life.”

The Grilled Cheese Grant gives undergraduate seniors at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee funds to complete their final thesis art projects by sharing a meal. The concept came from a similar project in Chicago called Sunday Soup where artists and patrons would gather. 

Designs by Emma Bittner seen at Yours Truly Gallery |Photo credit: Cristina Ossers

Rachel says a big pot of soup would be made and everyone would chip in or purchase a bowl. Artists would talk with guests over dinner and eventually pitch projects they needed funding to complete. Attendees would then decide which projects they wanted to fund. The Grilled Cheese Grant took the model but swapped out soup for grilled cheese.

The year before the pandemic, Rachel says they had their largest event with 200 attendees at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts. The extra funds meant that they’ve been able to give all finalists some grant money. 

An outfit and a display of others created by Anna Siemsen at Gluon Gallery | Photo credit: Cristina Ossers

“What we were able to start last year and what we're doing again this year is we're actually giving funding to all five of the finalists that have been selected and that's just thanks to the growth of the project over the last six years,” says Rachel.

Last year and this year the Grilled Cheese Grant has had to go online due to the pandemic. 

What’s different from last year’s virtual event is a physical component, albeit a pandemic safe one. All artists will have their works displayed in gallery windows at Yours Truly and Gluon Gallery in Riverwest. Rachel says it’s an opportunity for anyone planning to vote and donate to see artist’s works outside of the screen.

Art pieces by Helen Baka at Yours Truly Gallery | Photo credit: Cristina Ossers

“With the weather warming up and everything especially these last few weeks it's clear to me that people are wanting to get out at least like to go for a walk or do something physical,” says Rachel. “I think it's a great solution to that.”

Anyone wanting to vote and donate to the grants will be able to do so online.

So go to to vote on artists you like and visit the storefronts of Yours Truly and Gluon Gallery. Voting ends Friday, April 9.

Finalists for the Grilled Cheese Grant
Helena Baka
Emma Bittner
Rylee Krumrei
Anna Siemsen
August-Lain Weickert

2021 Grilled Cheese Grant organizers:
Joe Acri
Alyssa Anderson
Rachel Hausmann Schall
Ethan Kastner
Sal Nicholson