Our Impact

Arts @ Large activates Milwaukee’s communities to build environments that support arts-rich, lifelong learning.

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!

Emerson Abstract Art Project

MKE River Canoe Trip

The Blossoming of an Artist Educator Tia Richardson

A Word or Two About Jeff Zimpel

The Struggle for Civil Rights in Baseball 

Stitching History

Freedom Riders

March to Equality 


We believe in Arts for all
We strive to treat everyone with dignity

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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average number of students, families and community members served annually



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average number of performing, visual, literary and multimedia artist residencies provided annually

Our Cornerstones

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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. 

Technology & Innovation

Highlighting the power of technology to create empathy, understanding of the complex world around us, and our individual and collaborative ability to create change.

Students work together at the eco-arts learning center


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

A student enjoying an art workshop


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 program presentation on Milwaukee's Civil Rights history held at Milwaukee City Hall

Civil Rights

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

Meet the Team

Arts @ Large Staff

Joel Cencius, CFRE (he/him)

Executive Director


Sam Kacala (he/him)

Instructional Designer


Arts @ Large logo

Delia Kovac (she/her)

Director of Development and Marketing


Arts @ Large logo

Becky Lehr (she/they)

Operations Manager


Phillip Salat (he/him)

Director of Programs


Photo of Mark Soriano

Mark Soriano (he/him)

Program Coordinator


Jeff Zimpel (he/him)

Instructional Designer


Arts @ Large Board Members
Photo of Ursula Flores

Ursula Flores, Chair (she/her)

Milwaukee Center for Independence

Photo of Lauren Triebenbach

Lauren Triebenbach, Vice Chair (she/her)

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Arts @ Large logo

Thomas Roepsch, Treasurer (he/him)

Thomas Roepsch, CPA

Photo of Corina Torres

Corina Torres, Secretary (she/her)

Meissner, Tierney, Fisher & Nichols, S.C.

Arts @ Large logo

Nicole Anderson (she/her)

NEA & Associates, LLC

Photo of Adam Arndt

Adam Arndt (he/him)

Catalyst Construction

Arts @ Large logo

Jada Davis (she/her)

Ohiku Law Office

Jennifer Kasun (she/her)

J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Arts @ Large logo

Brian Maunze, Ph.D (he/him)

Marquette University

Arts @ Large logo

Jana Schreier (she/her)

Envoy | Keller Williams

Arts at Large, Inc. was originally cofounded by Teri Sullivan (she/her) and Kim Abler (she/her).


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