Over the next few months, we will feature stories of the dynamic effect that Arts @ Large has had on Milwaukee since our inception 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
average number of schools served annually
average number of students, families and community members served annually
average number of teachers participating in professional development each year
average number of performing, visual, literary and multimedia artist residencies provided annually
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.
Arts @ Large engages Milwaukee’s high school students in a rigorous career development program that introduces them to “real life” work experience in art and design related fields. Our team collaborates with multiple of community partners, teachers, artists and industry professionals to provide opportunities for students to experience the full scope of designing a path to a successful career that explores their creativity and helps them contribute to building a strong community.
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
Sean Kiebzak (he/him)
Teri Sullivan (she/her)
Co-Founder & CEO Emeritus
Kim Abler (she/her)
Symphony Swan-Zawadi (she/her)
Senior Director of Programs
Jeff Zimpel (he/him)
Phillip Salat (he/him)
Mark Soriano (he/him)
Program and Operations Coordinator
Deena Kahn (she/her)
Program Development Specialist
Emma Corbett (she/her)
Events and Cafe Manager
Chair, Retired, MKE Firefighter, Former MPS Board of Directors Chair
Vice Chair, Milwaukee Center for Independence
Thomas Roepsch, Treasurer
Thomas Roepsch, CPA
Lauren Triebenbach, Secretary
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Metropolitan Real Estate Consultants
Educators Credit Union
Retired Milwaukee Public Schools
Meissner, Tierney, Fisher & Nichols, S.C.
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Quarels & Brady
Envoy | Keller Williams