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Wake Mission Statement

Few regions are as well-defined geographically as the Great Lakes. Think about the Great Lakes cities: Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Duluth, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Gary, Chicago, Milwaukee, and points between.

We believe a culture of the Great Lakes endures but has gone largely unrecorded, or lost in the misidentifying term Midwest.

What does it mean that Frank Lloyd Wright spent much of his time in Chicago? That Andy Warhol was a Pittsburgh native? What does it tell us that Tim O’Brien was born in Minnesota? Consider some of these significant figures with ties to the region: Henry Ford, Ty Cobb, Les Paul, Saul Bellow, Margaret Atwood, Barack Obama, Trent Reznor, Mary Pickford, Clarence Darrow, John Candy, Glenn Gould, Thomas Edison, Rachel Carson, Michael Jordan, Philip Levine, Malcolm Gladwell, Gerald Vizenor, Sojourner Truth, Al Capone, John D. Rockefeller. That’s just a small sample.

Draw a boundary around any area and you’re bound to find some similarities in the people, the culture. Drawing boundaries and looking closely can help us understand our world and the people in it a little better. The Lakes provide a shared experience for the people of the region: a shared climate, shared industries, histories, and more. Wake aims to draw those boundaries—real and imaginary—and see what we can see. We believe there are connections to be made, and Wake is committed to discovering them, exploring them, celebrating them.