Refuge Journal 37

Aug 10 2018

‘A place to dream – in this green valley 

I’ve found a home – for everyone’

“Our Song” written by Cory Chisel, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fox Valley Region, and the community of Appleton.

One might argue that Refuge Foundation for the Arts was created on the following hypothesis– To create is to feel, but to create collaboratively is to heal and transform. From the beginning our intention has been to explore, examine, and ask questions of collaboration and creative expression. Specifically, what happens when corporate, community, and municipal leaders come together with the artistic community to express and collaborate? This past Saturday at Fox Communities Credit Union’s Bike to the Beat we got a pretty powerful answer to our question. In partnership with the City of Appleton, Fox Communities Credit Union, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region, Refuge Foundation for the Arts–in its most wide reaching collaboration yet– facilitated the creation of a community-penned song and new welcome signs to adorn the entrances to the city Appleton.

The process began in mid-July when we hosted a livestream community songwriting session in our chapel that included Mayor Tim Hanna, members of Big Brothers Big Sisters and a bevy of online community writers. The goal of the gathering was to engage the community of Appleton as a whole to contribute to and create “Our Song”, an anthem that aims to represent the diverse talents and values of the people of our community. Once the song was completed by Cory Chisel, Refuge Artist Chad Brady, in coordination with Urban Evolutions, began the design of the first of twelve new welcome signs for the city. Each of these hand painted signs are adorned with the lyrics from “Our Song”. It is our hope that these signs will greet both locals and visitors alike, and extol the diverse talents and creative connections within the city of Appleton. Both the song and sign were debuted at Bike to the Beat this past weekend to great acclaim and praise. Not two days after its debut, the song was recorded at the Refuge by Cory Chisel, world renowned cellist Eru Matsumoto and the Appleton Boychoir.

Unbeknownst to us, the process of creating the welcome signs and “Our Song” for the city also solidified what our purpose, our song, is as an organization. We add value to our partnerships through the arts. For this collaboration, no less than five community partners came together with the community of Appleton to create something durable and transformative. We are humbled to have participated in this amazing collaboration and look forward to working with the city of Appleton and our partners to create and transform this powerful and diverse community for a long time to come.

What happens when corporate, community, and municipal leaders come together with the creative community to express and collaborate? In our case, hypothesis becomes theorem.

You can watch the livestream of the unveiling and premiere of “Our Song” here.

Tell Me True Anniversary Sale

A year ago, we released our first album with co-founders Cory Chisel and Adriel Denae’s Tell Me True. We’ve since released three more albums: Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman’s Dear John, Traveller’s Western Movies, and last Friday Adriel Denae’s solo debut. In celebration of this special year for Refuge Foundation for the Arts we are putting our web-store on sale for 25% off with the code TELLMETRUE that is good for the rest of the month! A portion of the proceeds of sales helps to continue our mission of bringing art to the community. Thank you to everyone for all your support, and we can’t wait to see what another year brings!




Saturday night we were at Lawrence Memorial Chapel for our Mile of Music show Cory Chisel & Friends. The event included performances from Cory Chisel, Adriel Denae, Lillie Mae, E.B. The Younger, Arum Rae, DJ Ross Grizzly, and Lex Allen.

Sunday we hosted Lillie Mae, LOLO, E.B. The Younger, and Adriel Denae for another great day of music in our chapel. Thank you to Windy Brick Photography for these stunning photos.

Hopeland Festival Announcement: Visual Art

We live in a time of change; of passionate opinions, protest, and reform. Words and images have the power to make people consider things in a new way, and there’s a lot to consider in the world right now. Public art places these images and words in front of those who might not otherwise be looking. We need more of it, in every city, and we need it to incite feeling, thought, and action.

The visual art portion of Hopeland Festival will be spearheaded by Refuge Artist in Residence, Ally Wilber, who seeks to bring meaningful public art to the event. Expect to see some larger, intentionally provocative and uplifting works by Fox Cities artists outside and throughout the musical venues. Some pieces may even find a permanent home in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The unique two-day festival will celebrate community through live music & visual artists starting on Friday, September 21 from 5:00pm – 10:00pm, and Saturday, September 22 from 11:00am – 5:00pm. It will combine musicians with captivating visual artists. It will be hosted in downtown Green Bay, partnering with local businesses around town including Kavarna, Keggers, Lyric Room, Black & Tan Lounge, Neville Public Museum, Three Three Five, Cup O Joy, and Titletown Brewing Company Roof Tap.

For more information visit