Using the arts to create more connected communities as we age


The Islands of Milwaukee has inspired multiple exhibits and performances.

Learn about them here.


The Report

You can download the report on the Islands of Milwaukee’s pilot year here!

Note: this is a 22-page report!

Posted 2 years ago

Milwaukee's City Hall

Video of Islands of Milwaukee Performance

On Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st, 2014, Sojourn Theatre performed each hour to animate the Islands of Milwaukee exhibit and engage the audience in considering - how will we stay connected to community as we age?

Posted 2 years ago

Milwaukee's City Hall

Milwaukee Exhibit Draws Thousands

September 20th through October 20th, 3 giant islands took up residence in City Hall. Each island featured an audio station - with artfully designed recordings of Milwaukee’s elders. The 2nd and 3rd floors featured 6 Interactive Question Stations. Answers grew and grew throughout the month.

To learn more, check out
Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal

Caroline Roers, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Posted 2 years ago

Milwaukee's City Hall

Islands of Milwaukee Performance/Exhibit




More people are aging alone at home than ever before.AARP has identified social isolation as a pressing challenge for aging societies.Research suggests that as a health risk factor, social isolation is akin to 18 cigarettes per day. And the effect is life-long, not just for older adults.Isolation and loneliness impacts people of any economic status – from urban to suburban and rural areas alike.

The Islands of Milwaukee (IoM) is a bold, innovative attempt to address social isolation among our aging population through the arts.

Disease, disability, job loss, loss of a spouse – there are many factors that can lead to social isolation.IoM is a multi-year and multi-faceted approach toward easing it – and its culminating performance and exhibit is coming to Milwaukee’s City Hall on September 20th and 21st.The exhibit will be open through October 20th.

IoM brings together internationally recognized Sojourn Theatre with internationally recognized scholar Anne Basting and Milwaukee-based artists and area care networks for older adults to ask – how can we stay connected as we age?How can we be part of creating a more connected community?

Over two years, the collaborative team behind IoM built a network of partnerships to bring creative engagement to older adults living alone or under-connected to their communities – inviting them to share thoughts and stories through art and in turn engage others.

IoM begins with simple, provocative Questions of the Day – distributed through home delivered meal drivers, volunteers, and home care providers.Questions of the Day can be answered by phone, hand-written cards, or the website/facebook page.The arts team in turn invites those who answer to engage more deeply – and connects them to others in the project.

The culminating exhibit and performance at Milwaukee’s historic City Hall invites us all to meet the people providing connections (through services and volunteerism) and some of those with whom the IoM teams connected - Bill, Jim, Angie, Taylor, Ernest, and June.The interactive performance will take place during “Doors Open,” when 2,000+ people pass through the building to get tickets and tour the tower.The exhibit will continue into October.IoM suggests that Milwaukeeans not just open their doors, but knock on the door of a neighbor to create a more connected community.

The team behind the project includes UWM’s Peck School of the Arts; Sojourn Theatre; Milwaukee Co. Dept. on Aging; Interfaith Older Adult Programs; Goodwill Industries of Southeastern, WI; and Stowell Associates.

The effort was funded by the NEA ArtWorks, UWM Research Growth Initiative, the MAP Fund, the Helen Bader Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and the Princess Grace Foundation.

Posted 2 years ago

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