New Partner Sheltering Tree Takes Form

Sheltering Tree residents share some of their creations in their pre-fired phase

WhyArts welcomed a new community partner. Sheltering Tree is a non-profit that creates safe and affordable housing for persons with developmental disabilities. During the pandemic, their residents were eager to connect in social and creative ways. We were able to offer a series of ceramic making workshops with WhyArtist Richard Chung via Zoom. We were able to conduct these workshops at no charge thanks to a grant from the Omaha Community Foundation Enrichment Fund.

Doing virtual workshops create a lot of extra challenges, like getting supplies to and from clients, arranging camera angles so all participants can see the instructive process and making sure all can participate and feel successful. We knew Rich was the the perfect fit. Sheltering Tree Executive Director, Denise Gehringer said, it went “brilliantly” and that while, “working with clay is a complicated process, the WhyArts ceramic artist, Richard Chung, did an excellent job of engaging our residents and creating an atmosphere that felt closer to in-person than virtual. This allowed the residents to feel comfortable with the clay and truly let their imaginations flow!”

Residents created multiple pieces and there were many steps from formation to firing, glazing and re-firing. We will share photos when they are ready. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about Sheltering Tree, please visit their website: