We recently partnered with Arts @ Large in Milwaukee to support their student-run food truck. We took some time to chat with Erin Forsythe, Business Leadership and Culinary Arts Facilitator, to learn more about their work and how you can get involved. If you’re a fan of supporting the arts, experiential learning for children, food trucks or all three, please read on and be sure to follow them on Facebook too!
IF: What is the mission of Arts @ Large?
EF: Our nationally recognized program uses the arts to cultivate vibrant, inclusive, and innovative school communities where students excel and grow. Programs examine human connectivity and long-term betterment through the arts to help teach that individuality and behaviors can impact social change, and ultimately turn into careers in the “real world.” We collaborate with diverse community partners and artists to provide arts and humanities, project-based learning across all curriculum areas during the school day, after school, and summer.
Arts @ Large has broadened our mission to “life-long learning,” serving not only students, but also their families, teachers, artist educators, and the broader community at our community center in the Walker’s Point Neighborhood of Milwaukee.
IF: How did you get started?
EF: Arts @ Large began in 2001 as a program to provide innovative arts education services for Milwaukee Public Schools’ students. We became a nonprofit in 2005 to maximize our services, and to this day our mission remains the same – we seek to ensure that every child receives an education that uses the arts to motivate them to high academic achievement.
Arts @ Large uses project-based and experiential learning to engage students in arts integrated programs. By connecting arts to academics, students learn to tell their stories through a variety of media including film, photography, theatre, music, spoken word poetry, fine arts, and dance. Whether they focus on themes of peacemaking, civil rights, or eco-literacy, students begin the process with research, tell their stories through their own creative outlet, and culminate their experience by celebrating their achievements with family and friends.
IF: How many people have been impacted by your program?
EF: During the 2017/2018 school year, Arts @ Large worked with 55 schools and 12,820 students, as well as worked with 1,016 teachers and artists. Additionally, Arts @ Large had 3,309 community members visit our gallery and park spaces.
IF: How has Imperfect has impacted your reach?
EF: Imperfect has donated much of the produce that goes into the empanadas we make and serve during our Friday night Music Under the Stars concert series in Paliafito Eco-Arts Park. In previous years, Arts @ Large has been unable to provide any real concessions, beyond beverages, to community members who attend these concerts. With the help of a local food truck providing us a place to cook from, and Imperfect for providing produce, attendance tripled in week one alone!
IF: How can folks can get involved?
EF: Please visit www.artsatlargeinc.org to join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook to stay connected! And stop by our cart at Paliafito Eco-Arts Park every Friday from now until September 14th between 5 and 8 pm!
IF: Is there anything else you would like folks to know about your program?
EF: In June 2018, Arts @ Large broke ground and began renovations on a historic building in the Walker’s Point neighborhood. This site will become the new Arts @ Large Community Center, which will be home to an incredible gallery space and café, providing a place for thousands for students, artists, and community members to come together and create. Construction will be completed December 2018 and the grand opening is set for July of 2019!