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Empowering Communities Through Art

(Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Open arts studio Wheelhouse Studios may be physically located in Memorial Union, but, through an impressive range of community and campus partnerships, the team is spreading its art-making well beyond Wheelhouse studio walls. From partnerships with local high schools to well-being events with University Health Services (UHS), the Wheelhouse team is using the power of art to strive to improve lives. Read on to learn more about some of our exciting community partnerships Wheelhouse has enjoyed in the past few years. Plus, the team is always open to new partnerships, so if you are interested in collaborating, reach out

University Health Services and Mental Health Services

Wheelhouse Studios at Memorial Union

The arts have long been known to have health and wellness benefits. To foster self-care and social connections for University of Wisconsin–Madison students, UHS has co-hosted a variety of events, including free Chillax Sessions, which include time to make art alongside a UHS mental health provider, who can answer questions about how to start counseling services or to access well-being resources. 

Ben de Boer, UHS psychologist and coordinator of group services said, “UHS and Wheelhouse have collaborated on the Chillax series for the past several semesters. It is a great way to give students a chance to do something for self-care in a setting that encourages creativity and community-building with the added benefit of blending art-making and mental health awareness.”

Racial Justice and Healing Collective

According to its website, “the Racial Justice and Healing Collective is a 15-week, facilitated journey for UW staff whose work supports students or staff development and success.” 

As part of the learning process, each cohort gets the chance to experience Wheelhouse Studios and the power of art-making for healing. 

“The facilitation team of the Racial Justice and Healing Collective greatly appreciates Gabrielle [Javier-Cerulli of Wheelhouse Studios] and the Wheelhouse for enhancing our program and allowing us to center community building,” said Frieda M. Zuckerberg, director for climate and community engagement.

UW-Madison Posse Program

Wheelhouse helps to facilitate a welcome event for new Posse cohorts, using art as an icebreaker that gets conversation flowing and connections forming. Posse is a scholarship program for “students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes.” 

Horizons High School

Art can be an important part of a well-rounded education. Horizons High School, which supports high school students in recovery from substance use disorders, comes to the Wheelhouse Studios once a month for an art class.

Time to Make Art

Are you inspired to infuse art into your organization, workplace or social circle? Wheelhouse offers an array of customizable group events for a wide variety of price ranges and interests. Whether you want to celebrate a milestone with friends, enjoy guided team-building with coworkers or host a wellness experience for a club, explore group events at Wheelhouse Studios

Wheelhouse also offers low-cost and free art events throughout the year. Check out all the ways to create your art with Wheelhouse at union.wisc.edu/wheelhouse.

Author: Erika Stevens

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