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Just Like You

In partnership with the NW Downs Syndrome Association

In late 2013-early 2014 we’re doing a two month workshop with parents who are members of the NW Downs Syndrome Association. These are all parents who have children with Downs. We’ll help the parents write plays about their experiences, and their children, with at least two sessions with the children themselves (paired with volunteer scribes). The parents at NW Downs Syndrome Association want to tell stories that counteract the popular belief that being a good parent to a children with Downs Syndrome requires superhuman effort. Their families are like so many others. We want to take away some of the mystery and stigmatization around living with Downs Syndrome, and help empower audiences to feel confident to approach people with Downs in their own community.


Jump At The Sun

An African American Women’s Project

We’ll do a 8-10 week intergenerational playwriting workshop specifically for African American Women to tell stories around issues they face in Portland as African American women. Promotion of the final performance will be aided by Race Talks.We’re currently contacting potential partners organizations.  If you’d like to help make this happen, call us at 503-459-4500 or email us by clicking here! 


The Surprise Guest Project

This is a workshop for women and men with a breast cancer diagnosis.  This is an area of passionate importance to our board, because there really seems to be no one in our community who is untouched by cancer. We chose to  focus the storytelling on “surprises”. For something that is all too common, there is still a lot of confusion and mystery that attends the person facing the initial diagnosis, and prospect of the journey through their treatment. We want to help participants capture what was most surprising about their experience, pinning down and unraveling the enigma, and sharing that with an audience as a map for those who may someday encounter their own breast cancer diagnosis. We’re currently looking for organizations to partner with.  If you can help, call 503-459-4500 or email us by clicking here.



Stories for Portland

Our new annual Stories Event for Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival comes out of Well Arts’ merger with Lunatic Fringe, and will help community members create and perform plays out of their own experiences. Local theatre artists will assist in the writing and rehearsal process, script organization, editing, and directing. Past projects have included homeless, recent immigrants/foreign population, and human trafficking victims, providing a stage and an audience for their stories to be heard—to foster an understanding of all-too-often misunderstood and stereotyped populations. Each year during the Fertile Ground Festival we will give our stage to an underserved population as an open forum so their voices can be heard and audiences made aware of controversial issues hidden from the public. Stay tuned for next year when we will celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of “Stories” presented by Well Arts. Can you guess which diverse group we will focus on next? Let us know who you think it could be…


This project began four years ago with Lunatic Fringe’s, The 5th of July, the pilot for the Stories Series, in which young people from Rwanda, El Salvador, Nepal, among other countries, read their writings on the culture shock of living in the US and their longing for the cultural traditions of their own countries. The following year a partnership with Street Roots was formed and writers of the homeless community invited to create Stories: from the streets. Last year’s Stories: from survivors of the sex trade attracted the largest audience and broadest demographic to date. This year for the 4th year of our annual “Stories Series” we took a closer look at yet another eclectic population: SE Portland youth in the improvisational comedy revue, “Stories: From the Trenches of Middle School.” A group of savvy students revealed their inner lives to the world, on their own terms: through a thinly disguised veil of parody and satire.)

Our next fundraiser is….

Actress Lauren Modica in our 2012 Reunion Writing Workshop Performance "I:you"

Actress Lauren Modica in our 2012 Reunion Writing Workshop Performance “I:you”

Spare Change: A Well Arts Bowling Fundraiser!

Come to the Hollywood Bowl for an evening of bowling, drinking and snacking! Bring friends and the whole family, and support Well Arts

Spare Change: A Well Arts Bowling Fundraiser
at Hollywood Bowl
4030 NE Halsey, Portland Oregon 97232
Saturday April 27th, from 4pm-7pm.
Tickets $20 adults/ $15 children 13 and under
Drink tokens are $8 each.
Great raffle prizes from featured local businesses!

All proceeds go towards next years programming, helping people who feel isolated about their experience to feel heard, and helping us all to understand our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, just a little bit better.

Click here to buy tickets, and have fun for a great cause!
Click here to see the flyer!


Coming Up Next

Chinook Book Fundraiser!

Chinook Book is a coupon book that contains hundreds of coupons from local merchants committed to protecting the environment and giving back to the community.  Inside you’ll find discounts for local theatres, free smoothies and cookies at local coffeeshops, buy-one-hairstyle-get-one-free…you get the idea.  Over the summer, Well Arts volunteers will be selling Chinook Books for $20 a book.  $10 will stay at Well Arts to support community-driven arts and healing!  Call us at 503-459-4500 for more information!


A Touch Of Well Arts

Each October, volunteers, friends, and individual supporters come drink wine and beer (a big thank you to Widmer, last year’s sponsor), eat delicious food (a big thank you to Crave Catering, for the delicious dinner they provided last year), enjoy music (like the daring strains of the Jenny Finn Orchestra who performed last year), and bid at a silent auction that features scores of local businesses.  Call 503-459-4500 or email us by clicking here, to get on the invite list for October 2013!

What is Escrips?

Escrips is a California-based fundraising organization that is free for nonprofits and donors to use.  When you register your credit card with escrips, you can have businesses you buy from donate to up to three nonprofits!  A few quick faq’s.

Does this cost me anything?

This costs you nothing. There are no fees or special requirements.  Businesses you frequent donate a percentage of the money you spent at their establishment to Well Arts to support our programming.

Is this secure?

Escrips is well protected and often used by donors like you!  Information you provide the website is confidential and cannot be used for any commercial purposes whatsoever. You can sign up for escrip’s newsletter if you like, but you won’t be put on any businesses’ lists.

What do the businesses get out of this?

Your business, and a warm, fuzzy feeling for helping us.

So how do I do this?

Well, let’s go through it step by step here….


Signing Up For Escrips

  • Click here or copy and paste the following link into your webbrowser.  This will take you to the “About Escrip” page so you can explore a little more.
  • Then, click here or copy and paste the following link into your webbrowser.  This will take you to the sign up page!
  • Click on Group Name and then type in Well Arts in the last box and click Search.
  • Click on Well Arts Institute.
  • Click “Next” to proceed to the next step.
  • Fill out info to sign up your debit/credit card. Hit Submit and you’re DONE!
  • If you look at top right corner on the page where you sign in you’ll see “Online Mall” and “Online Store”-which means if you shop at Zupans’ any 5 locations a percentage of what you buy with your card you have registered will go to Well Arts.
  • Online Mall means you if you buy online with your registered card at any of the participating stores you see listed, a percentage of that will also go to Well Arts.
  • Dining rewards: you are automatically signed on to this by registering your card. Here is a list of restaurants in Portland that participate, but you can put your area in the search engine and it will give you a list of places near you. And they are all over-even in Hawaii!! Just use your card when you dine out


Actors Rick Zimmer and Sharon Mann in our 2013 Beautiful Minds performance "A Wall is A Road".

Actors Rick Zimmer and Sharon Mann in our 2013 Beautiful Minds performance “A Wall is A Road”.

Many businesses offer to match donations their employees make to nonprofits with their own donation.   You can double your gift through your employer!  Listed below are some companies that do this, though it’s by no means a comprehensive list, so contact your HR rep to be sure.  And if you want to add your company’s program to the list click here to tell us about it!


  • AT&T
  • Bank of America
  • Boeing
  • Cadenceesign Systems In
  • Coca-Cola
  • eBay Inc.
  • EducationQuest Foundation Inc.
  • Endo Pharmaceutical
  • Energen Corp.
  • ExxonMobil
  • Gap Corporation (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy)
  • General Electric
  • Gartner Group
  • Gary-Williams Co./Piton Foundation r
  • General Re Corp.
  • Gillette Co.
  • Glenmede Corp.
  • Goodrich Corp.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HP)
  • Home Depot
  • International Business Machines (IBM)
  • J. Paul GettyTrus
  • J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
  • Jefferies Group Inc.
  • Jefferson Pilot Financial
  • John Hancock Funds
  • John Hancock Life Insurance Co.
  • Kraft Foods
  • McDonalds
  • Mentor Graphics
  • Merit Oil Corp.
  • Metso Automation
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • Millipore Corp.
  • Mitsubishi Electric and Electronics U.S.
  • Mitsubishi International Corp.
  • Mizuho Financial Group
  • Monsanto Co.
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Morrison & Foerster, LLP
  • MTS Systems Corp.
  • Murphy Oil Corp.
  • Mutual of America
  • PepsiCo
  • SAFECO Corp.
  • Saint-Gobain Corp. Foundation
  • Sallie Mae
  • Sherwin-Williams Co.
  • Starbucks
  • Subaru of America
  • Verizon
  • Walt Disney
  • Wells Fargo
  • Washington Mutual
  • Washington Post Co.
  • Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.
  • WordsWorth Books
  • Yum Brands (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC)

Make your employer be generous and
support the community you live in!


Participants who performed their stories in Stories For Portland!

Portland Actors Conservatory’s Historic Firehouse Theatre was the first firehouse built in Portland.  It’s a fantastic and funky space!

This is what the theatre looks like.

This is the front of PAC's Historic Firehouse Theatre

This map is a close up of how to get to the theatre if you’re using streets, coming from the east. You can click on the map to see a bigger image.

Google Maps SW Clay St to 1436 SW Montgomery St, Portland, OR 97201 - Google Maps

This map is a close up of how to get to the theatre if you’re using HWY 26 to come from the west. You can click on the map to see a bigger image.

Google Maps US-26 E to 1436 SW Montgomery St, Portland, OR 97201 - Google Maps

If you’re parking on the street, you might need a pass to park longer than one or two hours on the street.  If you’re parking at the nearest parking garage, two blocks away on SW 12th and SW Montgomery, know that parking is free for the general public in the PSU levels of that parkinglot after 7pm!  Our shows start at 7:30 pm, so that’s a great deal.  And we usually have a shuttle van to help transport anyone parking in that garage, or using the Goose Hollow Max Station.  These are the shuttle times for “A Wall is A Road”:

Friday May 3rd and 10th Performances

The van will be at the PSU Parking Garage on SW 12th and Montgomery: 7:00, 7:15pm
The van will be be at Goose Hollow at 7:07pm, 7:22pm


Saturday May 4th and May 11th Performances

The van will be at the PSU Parking Garage on SW 12th at Montgomery: 1:30pm, 1:45pm
The van will be be at Goose Hollow at 1:37pm, 1:52pm



Founding Board Member and Actor Michael Teufel in the Beautiful Minds production, “What’s Important is The Story”



One in four Americans will receive a mental illness diagnosis at some point in their lives.  This diagnosis can isolate, stigmatize, confound, and instill fear.  Or, it can connect people to vital hope and resources.  A big part of that connection is learning to honor, share, and create out of personal experience. 



Well Arts‘ workshop “Beautiful Minds” in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Washington County Center provides basic and intermediate writing classes for anyone who has a mental illness diagnosis, or anyone who caregives for a family member of friend with a mental illness diagnosis.  We currently maintain two workshops in this program, one for adults and one for youth ages 12-23.  These workshops are open, and you can drop in any time!


Adult Program

A Safe Place To Express Yourself

A Safe Place To Express Yourself

Currently, we’re working on metaphors, style, voice, and character to reveal the truths of mental illness, as well as, you know, being alive.  The performances will be in March 2012.
Location: Washington County Center, 18680 Southwest Shaw Street
Aloha, OR 97007-1250.
2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month from 11am-12:30pm
Click here for a map to NAMI Washington County.



Mental Illness and the Arts Links

Art and Mental Illness New York Times
Creativity and Mental Illness Wikipedia Article
The Awakenings Project
Photographing the Landscape of Mental Illness in Indonesia New York Times
Mental Illness and Creativity Stanford Journal of Neuroscience
Drawing Mental Illness
Art Helps People Live With Mental Illness Huffington Post
Using Artwork To Help Understand The Experience of Mental Illness

Elder writers watching the performance of their life stories from our Voices of Our Elders workshop at Summerplace

Well Arts Institute provides writing-for-theatre workshops for the 60-and-over set through “Voices of Our Elders”.  These workshops provides basic and intermediate creative memoir and poetry writing skills to all comers.  We write and share in supportive, warm community!  Professional actors are auditioned annually to work with elders to put those stories on stage.  Our elder participants are the playwrights in the process, engaging in creative discussion with the theatre director and actors, making adjustments in the stories, and developing new ones in ensemble fashion.  The goal is to provide community, connection, and a forum for keeping our legacies alive in Portland’s culture!

We also present on our work in Voices of Our Elders in the community (most recently at PCC, Marylhurst University, and OHSU’s Health Aging Conference).

Call us at 503-459-4500 or email us by clicking here if you would like to bring a Voices of Our Elders workshop to an organization you work with, or if you would like to invite us to present on our programming or bring us in for a masterclass.


MaryAnne Glazebrook and Will Schmerge in “Granny and Cat”, part of our Reunion Writing Workshop production, “I:you”.

Arts Resources for Elders

Elders Share the Arts
Eldergivers Art With Elders
Geezer Gallery
Arts To Elders
Art with the Elderly
Theatre Helps Seniors on Medicinenet
National Center for Creative Aging
Montgomery County Senior Theatre
Senior Theatre Resource Center


Articles About Elders and Art

Theatre workshop tickles seniors’ brains The Charlotte Observer
For Healthy Aging A Late Act in the Footlights The New York Times
Senior Center’s Art Program Promotes Healthy Aging Process The Bay Citizen
A Picture of Health Vancouver Coastal Health
Aging Artfully at the Burbank Senior Artists’ Colony LA Times




A Production Shot from Well Art’s Performance of Veterans’ Writing “After War: Our Lives in America”

Well Arts partners with the Portland Vet Center to provide an annual, two-monthlong story-arts workshop.

By incorporating writing, visual art, and basic theatre practice, we hope to give veterans tools to begin to organize and share their story with others.
The workshop culminates in an invited read.  Each soldier brings one family member or friend to the final session, and reads part of their story aloud.  This program has the dual goals of fun and empowerment through tools of expression.

This workshop is open to any veteran being treated at the Portland Vet Center.
Veterans served at Portland VA may be able to be referred to the program in the future.

Currently, this workshop begins at the end of September, and ends in the beginning of November.  If you would like to join this workshop, you will need a counselor at the Vet Center to referr you.  You can call the Portland Vet Center at 503-688-5361, or toll-free at 877-927-8387.  If you would like to contact us about the program, call 503-459-4500!

The Vet Center Program was established by Congress in 1979 out of the recognition that a significant number of Vietnam era vets were still experiencing readjustment problems. Vet Centers are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and provide individual, group and family counseling to all veterans who served in any combat zone.


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

 Veterans And The Arts

The National Veterans Art Museum
Veteran Artist Program
United States Veterans’ Art Alliance
The VA’s National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Veterans Art Foundation
Veterans In The Arts
Veterans Writing Project
Veteran Voices
Veterans Writing Workshop
Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
Combat Paper Project
Vet Art Project
Blue Star Theatres

Other Resources For Veterans

The Veterans Stress Project
This is a network of volunteers who teach EFT (tapping on acupuncture points) to veterans to help manage PTSD symptoms.  There is some very interesting research to support this, so you might like to check this out as an option! And you can call 503-281-0195 for more information about EFT for veterans in Portland.

The Oregon Military Support Network
This is a statewide network of government programs, nonprofits, and corporations that provide employment or resources for veterans.  They’re fantastic at connecting individual service members and veterans with help, and fostering collaboration!

Actress Andrea White in Voices of Our Elders

Well Arts Institute partners with area organizations to offer writing for theatre workshops.

We provide workshop facilitators, financial and logistical support.  We hire directors, actors, designers and technical crew to produce staged readings.  Partners are required to help with publicity, volunteer support, and additional financial and logistical support. We work diligently to make sure the experience of the participants is a safe, yet challenging experience.


Our current programs include Voices of Our Elders, Beautiful Minds, Returning Heroes, and Soldiers of Our Hearts.  We are always eager to explore new project ideas.

Could your organization benefit from a Well Arts Institute workshop? 

We would love to hear from you!  Our board considers new partnerships every January for the upcoming season.

In order to begin the process:

  • Call our Artistic Director, Katy Liljeholm, at 503-459-4500 or email her by clicking here.
  • Katy will set up a meeting with you to give you more information about the kinds of programs we do, and to discuss your needs and ideas.
  • We’ll ask you to fill out a Partnership Assessment after the meeting, outlining what your goals are for the clients of your organization participating in the project and what needs we’re filling for them, together!
  • If/when the board approves the partnership, the facilitator will sit down with you and create a Program Plan that includes basic approach, as well as marketing and fundraising plans and timelines.
  • Then we’ll enact the plan!  And voila, a show will be born!
503.459.4500 |
2710 NE 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97212