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Islands Of Milwaukee City Hall Exhibit: Easing Social Isolation Through Art

Mohammadali F.

As we age, our connections to our community can falter or strengthen. Lost connections can especially occur when one lives alone. Islands of Milwaukee is a two-year project designed to help engage senior citizens and others who are living alone.

"As a health risk factor, social isolation is the equivalent of fifteen cigarettes a day. We are trying to make sure that people who want to, as they age, live at home are engaged in their community and are not disconnected," co-lead artist of Islands of Milwaukee Anne Basting says.

Credit The Islands of Milwaukee
The Islands of Milwaukee

Among the project's elements has been a regular, thought-provoking question of the day. People are invited to weigh in on issues in-person, over the phone and through the mail.

The project will culminate this weekend in the opening of an art exhibit based on the question of the day, on display at Milwaukee’s City Hall.

Anne Basting, theater professor at UW-Milwaukee and co-lead artist of the Islands of Milwaukee project;  Kara Grennier, director of community services for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin – one of the project’s partners; and Wayne Budzien, who asked the question of the day in his work delivering meals through Goodwill spoke with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich about the impact of the program and the importance of engagement in the community.

The Islands of Milwaukee performance piece runs this weekend at Milwaukee City Hall, coinciding with Doors Open Milwaukee. The culminating exhibit invites all to meet the people providing connections to the community and become engaged, especially with their senior neighbors. The exhibit will be open through October 20th.

Audrey Nowakowski is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.