In September of 2014, an art exhibit featuring the voices of Milwaukee elders opened at City Hall. The “Islands of Milwaukee” combined three-dimensional art, audio recordings and live performances in a unique exhibit that shed light on the topics of isolation and human connection. One of the seniors highlighted in the exhibit was Angie, a recipient of Home Delivered Meals, part of Goodwill’s Community Services Program.
Inspired by the “islands” concept, Chelsea Wait, a Ph.D. candidate at UW-Milwaukee, reached out to Angie in order to connect and engage. Wait says she has always had interest in public art projects, especially those addressing social justice, and how isolation can be a problem for people. Through her friendship with Angie, Chelsea was able to help her create poems and paintings that were displayed in the exhibit. In her recordings for the interactive portion of “islands,” Angie answered questions about her own experiences, as well as life in general. Her thought-provoking answers included, “The most valuable thing I learned [from this experience] is that I still have more creative ability than I thought I had.”
Anne Basting, a faculty member in the Theater department at UW-Milwaukee, was instrumental in organizing the "islands" project. “With a simple invitation to answer a poetic question of the day, we got to meet amazing people with enormous creativity and stories to tell. And you can too!” The project continues at islandsofmilwaukee.org.
Each day Goodwill’s Community Services Program delivers over 1,000 meals to adults like Angie who are age 60 and older throughout Milwaukee County. By providing hot, nutritious lunches during the week, the program promotes independent living for homebound older adults.