|Kimberly Abler, Founder and Co-Director
Teri Sullivan, Founder and Co-Director
|Ryan Hurley, Program Manager
Kai Simone, Operations Manager
Darrell Garrett, Communications Assistant
|Sean Kiebzak, Enviromental Arts Specialist
|Linda D'Acquisto, Professional Development Specialist
Letter from the Co-Directors
This year as we began to plan our annual report message to you, our many valuable partners, we were inspired by the amazing artwork from our gallery exhibit, Threads that Connect: Fiber Art & Community. Passing though Gallery @ Large everyday, seeing the colors and textures that fill the space, we could not help but be inspired.
In many ways, this exhibit, an idea that artist Andrea Skyberg had to create a collaborative children’s book Squircle that students helped to illustrate, comprehensively represents the work that we do. The student-created Squircle tapestries began as pieces of recycled clothing and discarded fabrics, which students re-created into beautiful, vibrant quilted stories.
This collaboration engaged more than 500 students in five schools and provided the opportunity for one artist to follow her dream. As a result, each student possesses the life skill of stitching, and learned the value of the interconnectedness of all people to one another and the world in which we live.
It takes creativity and teamwork to envision and bring a dream to life. As an organization, we ask our schools to dream –dream big. It ‘s something that doesn’t happen that often and some are even a bit reluctant to take us up on the offer.
We know that each experience Arts @ Large provides is based on making connections -between teachers and Milwaukee’s rich local arts community, and students and their families with teachers to bring meaningful, motivating learning to life. The threads that connect our work are each of our stakeholders, students, teachers, artists, parents, extended families, and our many funding partners. Although it would be easier to work in a vacuum with a cookie-cutter approach, we know this does not typically produce the best, and certainly not the most interesting results. It requires a leap of faith and trust to connect with others and embrace the diversity that all our partners bring to the table. For twelve years, we have learned that this model is always worth the effort and challenges us in the way we think and how we work as an organization.
Over the past year, our organization has experienced tremendous growth. We have added new staff members that bring talents and energy, not to mention passion for their programming service to our many stakeholders. We have spent time working together with our board of directors on a strategic plan that is moving us forward on a continued track of growth, improvement and sustainability for years to come. We are very proud of the service we provide to the community and we look forward to new projects and directions we will be going with new partners and schools we will connect with along the way. Arts @ Large will continue to dream big and encourage others to dream with us. Who knows what we might accomplish if, together, we follow our dreams.
Together we dream big,
Kim Abler & Teri Sullivan
Founders & Co-Directors