Medicine Wheel Board Honors Artisitc Director Michael Dowling

Join us at the TAJ to Celebrate 25 Years of Art and Healing and to honor Artistic Director  Michael Dowling’s Vision of a shared new future!  For tickets




Artistic Director in Boston Police Commissioner William Evans Office,  Presenting Hand in Hand


Dowling’s artistic work takes many forms, but it is united by his deep conviction that art and

the act of artistic creation have unrivaled power to break barriers and bring people together

around a common sense of purpose. Dowling is interested in the potential for personal and

collective change found in this liminal experience of crossing and uniting in what Dowling

calls the “threshold” through which individuals pass at the invitation of a work of art or, better

yet, as they share in the act of artistic creation. Certainly there is a long genealogy to the

notion that art can or should serve as an agent of social change, but Dowling’s

understanding of the nexus between art and change is both more nuanced and more

practical than I had previously encountered. As we worked together on the Liberty Tree

Project in 2014 and 2015, I came to understand Dowling’s vision of the power or art and the

role of the artist as both deeply aspirational and surprisingly earthbound. Dowling’s work

proceeds from the idea that something important happens when we bring together people

from different backgrounds and with different experiences and views of the world and invite

them to share a common experience of collaborative artistic creation or interpretation. They

learn that they are not as different as they had expected. They learn to communicate, to

listen, to understand. Indeed, they are changed.”

Nathaniel Sheidley Historian and Director of Public History The Bostonian Society


Medicine Wheel Celebrates 25 Years of Art and Healing!

Moving beyond Diversity to Inclusion, Building Community From the Inside Out, Using Art as the Threshold.

“Medicine Wheel is the Go to Organization for Art and Healing” 

Ayanna Pressley – Boston City Councilor-at-Large

Become a spoke of the Wheel



 In 1992 we were invited by the Boston center for the arts to create an installation cairnandritual to honor a Day Without Art/World AIDS Day.  During the 24 hours of Dec 1, people carried stone to the center of the vast Cycolrama to mark the impact that HIV/AIDS was having.  Two womaen tried to move the heaviest stone in the room.  I offered to help and the young man, long dead from AIDS, ringing the gong offered.   When I offered a third time one of hte woman turned to me and said. ” You don’t get this do you?  Her son my nephew, just died form AIDS.   This is our weight.  My work as an asrtist and the owrk of Medicine  Wheel began at that moment.  We have been blessed to continue our work and will be installing the 25th Incarnation of Medicine Wheel  this year at the Boston Center for the Arts.

“One of the most significant events ever in the City of Boston, involving thousands of artists, young and old, from every neighborhood over the years. Remembering the lives of some of the most beautiful people to ever grace the planet.

Laura Brown, Artist




































Launch of Liberty Tree


The American Revolution began in Boston.
Between 2015 and 2026, Boston has the opportunity to commemorate the 250th anniversaries of events that led to the War for Independence—from the dedication of the first “Liberty Tree” in August 2015 to the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Old State House in July 2026.
These commemorations are an opportunity to bring together Boston’s communities and engage Boston residents and visitors in conversations about the roots of self-government and the relevance of liberty for Americans today.
The first event of the American Revolution was the gathering of Bostonians under the “Liberty Tree” from August 14th–27th 1765. Today the site of the Liberty Tree is an overlooked and underutilized plaza at the corner of Washington and Essex Streets, but during those two weeks, 250 years ago, the site bristled with ordinary people calling for political change and arguing over what shape that change should take.
The Liberty Tree Project is a public art event conceived by Michael Dowling of Medicine Wheel Productions joining with community members from Ostiguy High School, Boston Asian: Youth Essential Service, St. Francis House, South Boston en Accion and the Museum of African American History along with historians from various sites in Boston. Drawing on the Revolutionary-era tradition of illuminating the Liberty Tree with lanterns, we are creating 108 copper lanterns with unique handcrafted sleeves stamped with images carved by members of the five community groups.
On August 14th these community groups along with members of the Boston History Community and with the support of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District will carry the illuminated lanterns from different points in the city to Liberty Tree Plaza in commemoration of the voices and actions of ordinary Bostonians 250 years ago and as testimony to liberty’s enduring importance in our lives today. Digital projections of images and quotes from the Revolutionary era and today will give historic resonance to our understanding of liberty and will underscore the importance of constructive civic dialogue to contemporary American society.
This project was made possible with support from Boston National Historical Park and Eastern National and the Boston Cultural Council.


Hand in Hand!

Hand in Hand is a new model of inclusion that uses cultural action to facilitate moving from resistance to reconciliation by creating public art together.  This work explores and challenges the capacity to humanize “the other” in our lives.  The result of this experience is the recognition of our common stories.  This project will create bridges between populations, which typically experience conflict with one another.  The current focus of the Hand in Hand project is bringing Boston Police officers and young community members together in an all-day workshop.  Each participating young person is paired with a police office for the day.

Each workshop begins with an informal introduction.  Young people and police officers are then guided through a meditation, as an icebreaker.   Each pair is then guided through molding and casting each other’s hand with quick-set molding and casting materials.  They unmold their cast hands together, sharing the experience of discovering an exact duplicate of their hands cast in plastic.  At a later time the hands will receive an aged bronze patina.

Following a shared lunch, the pairs of young people and police officers are brought to a commercial photo studio to have their portraits taken.  Portraits are both individual and as pairs.  As a closing to the workshop all participants are invited to spend some time in quiet reflection by writing a facilitated “I Am” poem.  They respond to a series of prompts, which encourage sharing of their experiences and insights of their lives.  The poems will later be recorded into an audio narrative.

The art-work created through these workshops will become the components to an installation piece, which will be displayed publicly at different locations across Bos

Valdez Scholarship Fund


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

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





Checks should be made payable to:


Medicine Wheel Productions

110 K Street

South Boston, MA 02127