40 years of working with the Arts at Baker: Spotlight on the Wilma Theater


Lee Ann Etzold
Portable Studio Program Director, Wilma Theater

How long have you been involved with Baker Industries?
We are entering our fourth year in partnership creating performance with Baker Industries!

How did you learn about Baker?
I first heard about Baker Industries when I learned they were interested in coordinating a group trip to The Wilma Theater in 2018. When I discovered that Program Director, Beth Tiewater, also valued the transformative impact of artmaking, I knew we should work together! The Wilma began offering theater and story-telling workshops at Baker through the Wilma’s Portable Studio program resulting in three theater pieces we shared with colleagues, friends, and families. Baker values these connections, and our collaboration has changed the lives of so many people – including our theater artists and me.

How do you think Baker makes a difference in the lives of the people it serves?
Baker values People and makes space for the fullness of their humanity. They invite their participants to stay curious, creative and take time for reflection. These are values we hold dear in the theater because when we do this, we become better listeners, better collaborators, and better community members. Baker recognizes the power of art to reveal someone’s best self, and so they have built creative expression into their professional development programming… genius!

What inspires you about Baker Industries?
I’ve learned so much about authenticity, integrity, and grit from everyone at Baker. These have been difficult times for the arts and humanities, but our collaboration with Baker Industries reassures me that there are fellow creatives and risk-taking artists throughout our community who continue to inspire.

If you could sum up Baker participants in a word or a few words, what would you say?