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.
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.