What would it take for all of  Milwaukee to have access to the arts?

Tonda Thompson, of She Slangs Wood, is a Milwaukee-based visionary entrepreneur whose passion for woodworking found a safe haven through Arts @ Large’s creative business incubator program. 

Tonda dreamed of building a creative industrial skills hub in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood. After encountering numerous roadblocks trying to open her own space, Tonda turned to Arts @ Large, where she was welcomed into our incubator program. Tonda moved She Slangs Wood into the Arts @ Large woodshop and quickly became fully immersed in the Arts @ Large community. 

The Arts @ Large staff welcomed me into their space, and I could tell that they really cared about me. They became a sounding board as I grew as an educator and leader. Arts @ Large scaffolded my business when I really needed it, and they helped catapult me into a much bigger success.“ – Tonda Thompson

Our program team partnered with Tonda to offer masterclass woodworking sessions for community members and hired her to lead a multi-week woodshop artist residency at a local public school. 

In 2024, Tonda will move out of the Arts @ Large Community Center into her fully equipped She Slangs Wood Headquarters.

Tonda’s journey began with a simple desire to create unique, handcrafted wooden pieces. With space and mentorship provided by Arts @ Large, she honed her skills, explored innovative techniques, and developed a teaching practice as remarkable as her determination

Tonda’s success story is one many examples of the positive effects of Arts @ Large’s work to make the arts accessible to all of Milwaukee.  Because of donors like you Arts @ Large can continue to inspire and uplift aspiring artists and entrepreneurs.  

Please consider a gift to support Arts @Large’s work for the Creative Future of Milwaukee.   

Gifts of any amount help us reach our goal. 

All gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000 thanks to a generous match from the Arts @ Large Board of Directors. 

To ensure your donation is counted for our match, please give before December 31, 2023. 

Help us raise $25,000 to support local arts education and pathways to creative careers.

In 2022, Tonda hosted a field trip for the Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language students to view historic chair designs in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection as part of her Arts @ Large Teaching Residency.