Click on the stories below to learn the dynamic effect that Arts @ Large has had in Milwaukee since our founding in 2001. Special thanks to authors Bob Kann and Lynn Cohen for helping us celebrate 20 years of encouraging all ages to explore their creativity!
We believe in beautiful work
We value life-long learning
We operate with grit
We are playful, but not childish
We go beyond expectations
We act with intention and humility
We are good stewards of our relationships and resources
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At Arts @ Large, our mission is to ensure that everyone has access to the arts.
We are inclusive. We believe that diversity leads to better problem solving. We are committed to individualizing experiences that meet the needs of each of our stakeholders. Through intentional conversations, active listening and hard work, we strive to create an environment where everyone feels empowered to share their voice and unique perspectives for the betterment of our community.
Highlighting the power of technology to create empathy, understanding of the complex world around us, and our individual and collaborative ability to create change.
Arts @ Large programs unite the arts and environmental education to promote ecoliteracy by engaging students and their families in creative community development projects that encourage environmental stewardship. With the support of multiple partners, Arts @ Large transformed a .52-acre city-owned neighborhood park into an outdoor eco-arts learning center called Paliafito Eco-Arts Park. The primary goal of the eco-arts learning center is to engage students, families, educators, neighborhood residents, and the broader community in hands-on, project-based environmental and arts learning. Primary features of the park include a 7,000-gallon stormwater cistern, native plantings, an urban agricultural feature, and a performing arts stage. Arts @ Large presents a free concert series “Music Under the Stars”, festivals, art making workshops, and environmental education programs that build neighborhood connections in an outdoor environment.
“Through Arts @ Large programs, my students become experts on our local environment and will be able to share their expertise with adults and other community members.” ~ Kristen Steinbach, Educator
The arts can be an incredible vehicle to model best practices in developing our future Peacemakers. Programs designed to build peaceful communities promote Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is the process of developing fundamental skills for life success within supportive, participatory learning environments. These skills include recognizing and managing emotions, setting and achieving goals, demonstrating empathy for others, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and making responsible decisions.
One of the many A@L programs that focus on Peacemaking grew from in-depth conversations with community partners. We learned that there are approximately 7,000 children in foster care in Wisconsin. These children deserve safety and love amidst their family unit. Foster care children often feel isolated, lonely, insecure, anxious and worried. That is why Arts @ Large formed a dynamic partnership with the Black Box Fund, resulting in the distribution of “My Art Bags”, filled with literature, dozens of activities and all the supplies needed to promote social emotional wellness for students living in foster care. Mindfulness, creativity, literacy – Arts @ Large uses the arts to build peaceful, healthy communities.
Arts @ Large programs challenge students to see themselves as an integral part of our great community and be active participants in making Milwaukee the best place to play, learn, work and live. There is a potency to the story of Milwaukee’s Civil Rights history. It is a story that is often forgotten, and rarely used to teach and inspire our young people in the community. To counteract the amnesia of our past, Arts @ Large uses the storyline of the NAACP Youth Council and the Commando’s from the 1967 Open Housing Movement to encourage teachers, artists and students to focus on meaningful topics that transcend traditional education. The stories that make up Milwaukee’s history in the civil rights movement resonate with today’s youth and serve as a catalyst for students to join to build a better Milwaukee.
“Through this project, history came alive for my third graders. We learned the story of Milwaukee’s fair housing movement, and prepared artwork for A@L’s Gallery Night and Day exhibit. We attended community events and my students were able to shake hands with former NAACP commandos and hug Ms. Margaret Rozga, civil rights activist. It was amazing to experience this history with them. I am forever grateful. This has been the single most meaningful project I have taught in 21 years.” ~ Edith Dennison, Teacher at Anna F. Doerfler School
Joel Cencius, CFRE (he/him)
Sam Kacala (he/him)
Delia Kovac (she/her)
Director of Development and Marketing
Becky Lehr (she/they)
Phillip Salat (he/him)
Mark Soriano (he/him)
Daniela Vaca (she/her)
Jeff Zimpel (he/him)
Ursula Flores, Chair (she/her)
Milwaukee Center for Independence
Lauren Triebenbach, Vice Chair (she/her)
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Thomas Roepsch, Treasurer (he/him)
Thomas Roepsch, CPA
Corina Torres, Secretary (she/her)
Meissner, Tierney, Fisher & Nichols, S.C.
Nicole Anderson (she/her)
NEA & Associates, LLC
Adam Arndt (he/him)
Jada Davis (she/her)
Ohiku Law Office
Jennifer Kasun (she/her)
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Brian Maunze, Ph.D (he/him)
Jana Schreier (she/her)
Envoy | Keller Williams
Arts at Large, Inc. was originally cofounded by Teri Sullivan (she/her) and Kim Abler (she/her).