FauHaus art exhibit


The FauHaus project brings together diverse UW–Madison students and court-involved Dane County teens. The teens in the FauHaus project are predominantly low-income youth of color who work collaboratively to develop a socially-engaged art exhibition. Art Department associate professor Faisal Abdu’Allah mentors students in the development and presentation of their exhibition. Abdu’Allah is an internationally-exhibited visual artist whose work repositions Black cultural identity.

FauHaus is a reference to the legendary BauHaus, the renowned German Art School space where multiple disciplines flourished side-by-side. The “F” in FauHaus stands for Faisal. FauHaus builds on the 2013 UW–Madison art laboratory and exhibition:

“FauHaus: Bodies, Minds, Senses, and the Arts and Making Justice. Madison Public Library/Wisconsin Idea maker space program for court-involved teens.”

How FauHaus Works

FauHaus participants collaboratively design, produce, and install a public art exhibition which engages racial disparities through the lens of equity and diversity. The exhibition uses photographs, prints, drawings, and painting. Self-expression is conveyed through the documentation of individual and collective identities and disparities.

Skill development emphasizes cultural and creative competencies including the following skills:

  • the ability to recognize biases and barriers
  • the making of endless visual representations of culture
  • the effective use of art to promote social justice

FauHaus partners with The Neighborhood Intervention Program (NIP), a program of Dane County Department of Human Services. These partners offer community-supervision and intervention for court-involved teens, providing additional structure to ensure that enrichment opportunities remain available to their participants.

FauHaus student working on art                           

How FauHaus Integrates with UW–Madison Curriculum

FauHaus integrates community-based learning within a three-credit semester-long class. Course materials including films, audio-recordings, and texts are integrated into the weekly labs, providing a space for discussion and reflection. The course materials are engaging for the youth participants as well as the UW–Madison students who are designated as peer learners, offsetting differentials in power and privilege. The UW–Madison students carry a full three-credit course load of readings and assignments.

FauHaus Activities

Labs begin with shared food, informal conversation, and relationship-building exercises. These activities engage participants and create a sense of community. All FauHaus projects are collaborative and offer multiple points of access by accommodating a variety of interests, skills, and learning styles. Participants use photography, painting, production, and performance to explore their ideas through projects that address the experiences of teen participants and connect them to community resources.

Community-based learning is closely integrated with discussions of course materials including:

These integrated discussions ensure intellectual, philosophical, and critical thinking.

Mask Off - FauHaus Initiative

The Bubbler, in collaboration with the Neighborhood Intervention Program and FauHaus, presented an art exhibition by Madison youth. “Mask Off” brought together UW–Madison staff, Teen Bubbler, and teenagers of greater Madison to celebrate identity, alter egos, and human complexity. Based on 15 weeks of workshops with diverse artists, the project emphasized the multivocality and diversity of youth who are often at the forefront of the nation’s friction. The art, made by youth artists, tells stories about the multiple facets of self-imagination versus determination by society. The alter egos that the teens developed reflect their adaptation to the challenges that they encounter in their environment.


FauHaus Team

Faisal Abdu'Allah
Faisal Abdu’Allah

FauHaus Numbers

Strong Collaboration with the community

FauHaus fills a gap in UW–Madison service-learning placements by offering, in conjunction with Making Justice, an established community-based learning program that has annually served over 200 teens under the supervision of Dane County Juvenile Detention Center.

4 Years In Production

200 Youth Participants

6 Student Service Learners

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The UW Community Arts Collaboratory is dedicated to bringing the arts to underserved rural and low-income communities.

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