Our Story

Still Waters Collective began as an adult open mic at a Milwaukee nightclub called Mecca. From four poets standing sharing their work around a tall cocktail table, the Still Waters series grew to a weekly institution that nurtured a community for more than a decade.

Still Waters founder, Dasha Kelly, began being invited into schools and organizations as an established writer and performer. She created a constellation of workshops, afterschool projects, and special event series tailored for exciting young people about their own ideas, voice, individuality and agency. By 2008 Still Waters was predominantly focused on youth, delivering programs to three area schools. Today, SWC delivers programming to more than three dozen schools every year. Further, we offer employment, leadership development, and career training to program alumni between the ages of 18-25. Our family spans generations once again, with an adult open mic, a storytelling social, public workshops and discussions.

The future of Still Waters is to continue gathering our best ideas and selves around pages and stages, invigorating in us all the habit of listening AND being heard.

Still Waters Collect applies the craft of creative writing and the art of spoken word to build community, capacity and confidence.