In 2000, Well Arts began as a part of the Artists’ Repertory Theatre’s (ART) 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, Kate 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 The Well Arts Institute.
Well Arts 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 have partnered 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
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Portland Vet Center
Terwilliger Plaza Retirement Community
SummerPlace Retierment Community