“The go-to organization in Boston for arts and healing” – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
“It is an honor to be associated with and to support such a spiritually uplifting and healing organization.” – Dr. Rohit Chandra, SPOKE Board Chair at Turning the Wheel 2021
“The arts are a powerful force in our society. They have a profound impact on not only how we see our world, but on how we can reimagine it. Artists recognize how creativity can influence our collective culture and change the status quo. Artists are catalysts for social change. Through their craft, artists advance urgent conversations about our past, our present, and our future as a city.” – Kim Janey, Boston Mayor at Turning the Wheel 2021
“SPOKE is a vital organ and ever-ready battery of creative energy. … Medicine Wheel Productions gives us a way to talk about difficult conversations, a way to use imagination and creativity to its best of power. … As we look at what Medicine Wheel Productions has produced, we now know that there is a place in community to keep these conversations alive. It is through Medicine Wheel Productions and Michael Dowling who has become what we’d call in former times ‘the wheel man,’ the man who keeps turning that wheel to keep navigating those spaces.” – L’Merchie Frazier, Artist and SPOKE Awardee at Turning the Wheel 2021
“I continue to stand in solidarity with others who are demanding action and change, such as the team at SPOKE, who realize that it’s not enough to just share the dismay and terror of what’s going on around us. It’s not enough to just send more thoughts and prayers, it’s time for action.” – Gary Bailey, Simmons College, at Turning the Wheel 2021
“Arts and Cultural work can restore and nourish people’s capacities to listen, to empathize, to communicate, to receive, to hope, to imagine, to trust, and to act compassionately –the very capacities required for sustainable coexistence and reconciliation” - Creative Approaches to Coexistence, Lesley Yalen and Cynthia Cohen, Brandeis University
A few years ago I Would have never dreamed that I would be in a position to be something other than negative to my community. I was basically just running around getting money any way I could, selling drugs and robbing people became a completely normal part of my life. Since I never got caught doing anything “really bad” I gained a false sense of invulnerability, which led to me being more brazen in my actions. Long story short I was arrested and charged with some very serious crimes and faced the possibility of a lengthy prison stay. Thankfully I was able to plead out to lesser charges. The reason I bring that up is I believe that if I can turn my life around for the better why can’t someone else do the same. I’m not saying you can just wake up one day and your life is going to be great just by you wanting it to be, people need to take action and be able to ask others for help because believe it or not there are so many people willing to help others help themselves. That is what we are trying to do; we want to help continue in the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. dream of a better community for all not for some but for ALL. How are we going to do this you may ask and my answer would be I’m not entirely sure yet, we just hope to be able to get people talking and see what they are talking about in a truly honest way and from there maybe something else can happen maybe one person might decide to go back to school maybe another will decide they have had enough of the streets and reach out for help. I know that is a lot of maybes but I see them as possibilities as well. You as well as any person I have ever met knows the importance of having a positive influence in your life no matter who the influence is they give you support to keep on keeping on. I would like to thank you in being a partner with us and if we can only reach one person and help them realize they can have a better future then we have succeeded although I would like to have a bigger impact on more but it starts with one at a time.
- Richard Dinsmore, Advocacy and Public Art Coordinator at SPOKE
Other former Medicine Wheel Alumni, Staff, and Participants
“My name is Jamie Onderdonk. I was a student at Brandeis and I worked with you in the spring of 2010 on the source/resource installation. I wanted to let you know how much that project moved and inspired me. It is among my most significant life experiences that moved me to apply for master’s work in Conflict Studies in the Netherlands. I want to do more work with creative and collaborate community projects. I used the experiences from that project in my letter of intent for this program. I am hoping that I might be able to add you to my reference list on my CV. If you’re willing to do that, but would feel more comfortable with additional reminders of my involvement, just let me know. I’d be more than grateful and happy to supply. Thank you very much for your time and energy. And, by the way, I do follow the projects you put together at Medicine Wheel Productions and they always look/feel amazing when I read about them.”- Jamie Onderdonk
“The Philosophy I learned here has never left me. Every problem I solve is because of something I learned here.” - 20-year-old young man who participated in MWP for Five Years.