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Actor Will Schmerge as Smoke in our Reunion Writing Workshop “I:you”

Well Arts Institute began in 2000, as a part of the Artists Repertory Theatre’s community and education outreach conceived by Kate Hawkes.

ART produced “Wit“, a Pulitzer Prize winning play about a woman dying of cancer.  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.

Actors Brian Tennison and Jenny Newbry Waters in our Beautiful Minds production, “What’s Important Is The Story”



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.






Actresses Ashley Williams and Sarah DeGrave in our Reunion Writing Workshop production, “I:you”






We have been proud to partner with some of the most recognized healthcare providers and social service agencies in our area, including:

  • Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU)
  • Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
  • The Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • InAct, Inc.
  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Portland Vet Center
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (Washington County)
  • Northwest Down Syndrome Association
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Terwilliger Plaza Retirement Community
  • SummerPlace Retierment Community
  • Friendly House
  • Emmerson House
  • Elders in Action
  • Hollywood Senior Center
  • REACH Community Development





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2710 NE 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97212