Valdez Scholarship Fund

Ryan “Ryo” Evans, named as the 2019 Roberto Valdez Scholar

Please help us support our Daniel Morrison Fellows by making a $10.00 contribution today!

Roberto 3

Two of our most impactful programs at Medicine Wheel are; the Daniel Morrison Fellows Program, and the Roberto Valdez Scholarship Fund.The Daniel Morrison Fellows Program provides meaningful full-time employment to young people over the age of 18 who have “aged-out” of the youth services program. Endowed by Linda Zug in memory of her brother it offers a year of employment often necessary for a young person to navigate an educational or career path. read more

In 2011 Roberto Valdez, Poet, Youth Advocate, and Board Member of Medicine Wheel Founded the Roberto Valdez Scholarship Fund. The Fund Allows one of our fellows to accompany us on our annual artistic retreat to Italy. To fund this program we ask 300 donors to make a simple donation of just $10.00.

Please consider making a $10.00 or more donation, to the Valdez Scholarship Fund. Checks can be made payable to Medicine Wheel Productions, 100 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127. Or donate online at


Michael Dowling

Artistic Director

We All have Dreams

We All Have Dreams IMG_9500

Creating together at Medicine Wheel.

The young 18 year old black man in the photo above  and the 88 year old woman below both shared stories with me this week. Both told stories of bearing witness to the unspeakable and of having the courage to create a shared future history. The young man witnessed his cousin being killed in street violence last week. The older woman called this morning to make a donation so we could hire him full time and shared the story of her mother’s two sisters fleeing the Nazis and one of them seeing the other killed as she ran.

They work together on Wednesday mornings at Medicine Wheel. We have received a $20,000 challenge gift that we are trying to match. We would like to offer the young man a full time job as he ages out of youth services. We need and appreciate your help, Please donate at the link below

IMG_9501 (1)

Call to Artists




In 1987 a small group gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would forget.  This action served as the beginning of the Names Project, also known as the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  On December 1, 1989 A Day Without Art began as a National Day of Mourning in response to the AIDS Crisis. In 1989 Boston Artists created thousands of 12” x 4” paper prayers in response to a call by Yezerski Gallery. Well-known artists, students, youth, and children did these. In 1992 Medicine Wheel was built in the Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts.  The Medicine Wheel Vigil has become an enduring testimony to HIV/AIDS in our lives. In those early years we were being asked the unimaginable question,

Where would we be without art?  Last year over 1000 visual artists and 250 performing artists took part in Day Without Art.  This year I invite the public and  the artistic community of Boston, New England and beyond to give testimony and invite reflection on the power of art to help us navigate and facilitate who we are for ourselves and who we can be for one another. 

For visual artists: create a 1 foot by 1 foot  charcoal drawing of someone you love write something about love

1 Charcoal and paper are available for pick up at Medicine Wheel 110 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127.

2 We can arrange to deliver supplies  to you or your groups

3 You can join us at Medicine Wheel beginning Monday October 8th and work on your drawing  here:

  • Mondays, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Tuesdays, 1:00 pm -7:30 pm
  • Wednesday, 10:00 am -5:00 pm
  • Thursday, 3:00 pm- 7:00 pm
  • Fridays , 9:00 am- 5:00 pm

v  Drawings  need to be returned to Medicine Wheel by November 24th or to the BCA by noon on November 26th, or call us at 617-268-6700  for pick up

For performing artists: Help us sanctify Medicine Wheel by making an artistic offering of  poetry, song, dance, music or performance.  Each year we invite artists to offer a breathtaking experience to mark each hour of the 24-hour vigil.

For the spiritual community:
Mark one of the 24 hours with a blessing, prayer, ritual or meditation

For the public:  Please complete a page with a story or definition of love or the

 Click to read more about this project

Vigil begins at 11:30 pm, Friday  11/30/18 and goes for the full 24 hours of Saturday  12/01/18

Gather at 11:30 on Friday November 30 for a processional walk into the
Boston Center for the Arts, Cyclorama
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

For more info call 617-268-6700 or 617-872-6065

Homecoming at No Man’s Land

Join us for “Homecoming”


Sunday August 26, 2018 6-9 pm

An evening of Food, Music, Art and Community

Moving beyond diversity to inclusion, building community from the inside out, using art as the threshold.

We are excited to unveil a new work by artists John Provenzano and Keely Edwards, entitled Homecoming.  The work is deeply rooted in the concept of home, truth, testimony, reconciliation and personal stories of who we are for ourselves and for one another.  It invites us to join in the creation of a shared future history where each of us claims, one’s rightful place in the communities where we live, work, go to school, or visit.

King and Queen of the Hill

There are People in our lives who have dedicated their lives to building a better world for all of us.  This year we are honored to crown long time community activists Dan Manning and Milagros “Milly” Peña as King and Queen of the Hill


Dan Manning is a 4th generation South Bostoniandan manning.  He has a long history of giving back to the community through countless causes and endeavors. He is a South Boston Pop Warner Coach and Board member. He treats the team players as if they were his own children.He has also coached South Boston Little League and he is a part of the Monsignor McDonnell and Frank Kelley Holiday Dinners Committee. He has served on a number of boards and committees in the community. He is a true asset to the South Boston Community. His wife, Ashley Manning and two children Ronan and Keira support him in everything he does.

Dan’s dedication to his community is something that he is passionate about. Watching his community grow and seeing the children thrive is his pride and joy.





Milagros “Milly” Peña is a strong, beautiful, and caring, Dominican immigrant from Southie and mother of four. Milagros is the Site Coordinator at the Joseph M. Tierney learning Center where she is responsible for taking care of the building’s maintenance issues. Milly decorates the place so beautifully during the holiday season, she organizes many events, and is in charge of all the grounds around the Center (look around at our mountainous sunflowers!).  Milly is the person who picks up our donations each and every week, and translates conversations with such grace!

Milly is the kind of woman who puts other’s needs first. Sometimes, She is a gift to the diverse population she serves. Her walk home from work should take four minutes. However, for Milly, it takes an hour because of all the people who stop her to talk. It’s funny, whether you know Milly for a minute or an hour; whether you are a student, a parent, a Senior, a CEO, or a person in need,  she treats you like part of her family.

Milly’s dedication to her community is something that she is passionate about. Watching her community grow and seeing the children thrive is her pride and joy.



Read more about No Man’s Land

Turning the Wheel 2018

Turning the Wheel 2018

Click for ticket and sponsorship information

MW Productions  Honors four outstanding citizens with Awards

Ifé Franklin  has worked as a professional artist and community activist for over 25  years. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ifé began her arts ifeeducation in high school, focusing then on black and white photography.  Ifé entered The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the late 1980’s Ifé enrolled in, “The Art of Africa,” course where she met her mentor, Master Adire Artist Mr. Stanley Pinckney. Ifé continues to created Adire (traditional West African resist and dying techniques.  Ifé owns and operates IféArt®. which produces sculpture,  installations, drawing, collage, photography, and fiber arts. Ifé often works collaboratively with other social justice organizations,  and artists  Ifé believes it is her destiny to create and use her voice to convey her passion for the arts and her love for freedom, peace and justice.We were thrilled to launch her Indigo project at MWProductions and look forward to more collaborative efforts that use art to help people locate themselves in these urgent times.


Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 1.48.41 PMWilliam Stoddard-Bill started his career back in 1977 at the Condon Community Center.  After a couple of years he moved on to the Boston Parks & Recreation Department and then on to the Executive Director of the Boston Police Athletic League.  He was introduced to MWProductions and Michael Dowling around 1996, 1997 at a meeting behind South Boston High School in an area called No-Man’s Land.  That is where the relationship with MWP began in the  90’s.    As the Executive Director of the Boston Police Athletic League,  Bill still supports MWP and the great work they do in collaboration with cops and kids, specifically the Hand in Hand program.  Bill has been a true and dear friend to all of our work at MWP.


Carly Craig-Since I was a young girl I always struggled. They say some people are born with a “hole in their soul” and I definitely know mine is deep. After carlyusing alcohol and drugs through high school I found myself at my first treatment center, The Cushing House, at age 19. That was my first taste of hope that stayed with me. I was with a bunch of girls my age who struggled like me. We worked with MWP on the Serenity Garden at No Man’s Land and it was a huge influence in my life. Expressing myself through art has always been helpful to my recovery. Unfortunately that wasn’t it for me. I struggled in and out of treatment for years with periods of sobriety but never really surrendered. My family lost my dear brother to suicide who also suffered from addiction and that didn’t stop me. I’ve lost so many brilliant friends due to addiction and that didn’t scare me. Even becoming a mother in sobriety with all the love in my heart for my child, I couldn’t find my way. It wasn’t until my late 20’s, still experimenting with drinking and failing miserably, that I said this is enough. I said a prayer and meant it that I couldn’t do this anymore. That nothing made me feel okay anymore. I asked God for help that day. I told him I was finally ready and I’ve stayed close to Him since. I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself this time and I still am. My daughter is now 8 and I can finally say I’m being the best mother I can be for her. I’m currently switching careers to a licensed barber and working at a family shop. I have an amazing relationship with my family and daughter. I love Alcoholics Anonymous and I’m not ashamed to say it. My family has a Summer camp in memory of my brother to be a positive influence on young adults. I’ll be running a mediation class for them this year which I’m really looking forward to. We took them to MWP last year and we are hoping to again soon! I’m so grateful for all the chances I’ve received and with the help of God, family, and friends, I didn’t give up.  Because what a blessing it is to not just be alive, but to feel alive.

no man's landDamarius B.  is a young man who came to MWP while in DYS custody.  no manLast summer while working with us at No Man’s Land he was confronted by some hateful, racist graffiti painted on the outdoor classroom at No Man’s Land.   In the years that we have worked at No Man’s Land this has been an ongoing problem and one that is difficult to explain to young men and women of color, particularly if we are asking those young people to reclaim this site as a community sanctuary.   Rather than get angry Damarius showed amazing leadership  and made friends with many of the local youth who regularly might “hang out” at No Man’s Land and who might also be involved in the vandalism. His question to them was “Why do you destroy the place where you live?” His work in stopping the vandalism was brilliant and has led us to deepen our work at No Man’s Land to create a sober and safe gathering space for all you live, work or go to school in south Boston

Dear Friend

 I wanted to thank you for your generous and continued support of the work we do to create a brave new normal; a normal where each of us can claim our voice; a normal where we feel witnessed in the neighborhoods where we live, work, and go to school.    Your help has allowed our to deepen in these urgent times.  Our motto has been, moving beyond diversity to inclusion, building community from the inside out, using art as the threshold.

We have been so lucky to use our participatory public art projects to address some of the most significant issues and populations of our times including, race, violence, addiction, court involved youth, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, police and community relations, the environment, and poverty.  Our public art projects recognize that we are all spokes of the wheel that if one spoke is broken the wheel is broken.

The Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative, Building Adaptive Capacity, has recently invited us to submit a concept paper.   This comes at a time when our work is expanding into new territory.   Our acclaimed Hand In Hand Project, pairing Boston Police Officers with young people is expanding into East Boston to work with immigrant families and police.   We were also recently invited and funded by the Linde Family Foundation with a two-year Youth Arts Funding, Bridge Grant Initiative. This invitational RFP was in direct response to the funding gaps that the youth arts sector in Boston has been experiencing.  

 We have also being considered by the BPDA, Boston Planning and Development Agency and 50 Liberty LLC to create a new cultural space on the Boston Waterfront.  This bold move would allow us to scale and scope our work, while creating a legacy organization that continues to use art to heal and address the issues of our times.

 This recognition has been the result of your belief in our work!  I cannot thank you enough for your support.  Others are investing in Medicine Wheel because of your investment and belief in our work!

 Each year we hold our annual “Turning the Wheel Event” in June.  The event is schedule for June 14th.   This event provides us with the unrestricted dollars that we need to continue our projects and our programs.   I hope you will commit to being a sponsor this year or to serve on our Host Committee.


Thank you,  

Michael Dowling

Artistic Director and Founder




Medicine Wheel Gala Invite 2018 from Indresano Studios on Vimeo.