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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Today's stream is sponsored by Maxie's

Grand Avenue Club

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  • Artist in Residence Colleen Kassner. Members at the GAC use art as therapy, regularly showing their work in the fourth floor art gallery.
  • A display or Kassner's artwork from her 2013 show. A new public art exhibit is planned for later this month, consisting of art created entirely by women at the GAC. It opens April 25 during Gallery Night and will be on view through July.

In the heart of downtown Milwaukee, on the corner of Water and Michigan Streets, there's a haven for people living with mental illness.  

But it's not a treatment center or a hospital.  It's a community, run by its members.

The Grand Avenue Club serves people with all kinds of mental illness, from depression to bipolar disorder, and gives them a reason to get out of the house and face the world.  

Members volunteer at the club, doing tasks like building maintenance, meal preparation, data entry and other administrative duties.  They also engage with each other in the club's library and art studios, and find jobs within the Milwaukee community as part of the GAC's transitional work program. 

Everything is meant to help people deal with their mental illness, using the community of members and staff as a form of therapy that works in tandem with other medical services provided by outside organizations.

Click the podcast player to hear from the Club's Artist in Residence Colleen Kassner and Executive Director Rachael Foreman.