Well Arts Institute



Director Katy Liljeholm and the cast of Just Like You

Mission Statement

To Explore, Develop, and Practice
Creativity as a Means of Wellness


Vision Statement

Exploring  the health of our community and its members
through the reflective lens of the arts.





Writers of Jump at the Sun

Well Arts Institute began in 2000, as a part of the Artists Repertory Theatre’s community and education outreach conceived by Kate Hawkes. In a partnership between ART and OHSU, Ms. Hawkes facilitated creative writing classes in which cancer patients were offered the opportunity to write stories of their experiences. Actors performed the stories written by the cancer patients as a companion piece to the mainstage production. It proved a life changing experience for the writers, actors and audiences and had an extended run. Kate Hawkes the director and facilitator, three of the writers: Doug Devers, Barbara Pongracz and Melanie Curry, and actors Michael Teufel and Susan Jonsson, together with three audience members, formed Well Arts Institute.


Hank Lindsley, Sue Ellen Christensen, Stephanie Cordell, and Chris Shields

Well Arts Institute continues to provide people living with physical illness, mental illness, and other life-altering events with the opportunity to create theatre out of their experiences.

We support the people who are coping with illness and stigma by offering them a creative space to develop their experiences into imaginative, theatrical presentations in collaboration with professional actors and stage directors. 

By connecting our community through empathy and creativity, we learn and heal together.


Actors Pat Lach, Nancy Aldrich, Shelly B. Shelley, Maryanne Glazebrook, Slipped in Between Things
Actors Pat Lach, Nancy Aldrich, Shelly B. Shelley, Maryanne Glazebrook, Slipped in Between Things

Well Arts Institute partners with local organizations to bring professional artists to facilitate playwriting and oral history theatre workshops for people facing physical illness, mental illness, or social trauma. 

Our process begins with a series of workshops that focus on writing techniques for the stage, blending of oral history and playwriting. Next, the writers move into production, working with theatre professionals to use the writing produced in the workshop to create a new work for the theatre. 


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Updated on 2015-02-15T22:02:19+00:00, by wellarts.