UW-P shows off ‘Rita’ to alumni and the community
The following article first appeared in the Racine Journal Times Sunday, April 29. It was written by reporter Christine Won.
It appeared the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside had something for all ages on Saturday.
Hordes of people--artists, alumni, faculty and families--walked through The Rita, as it has been nicknamed, at Parkside, 900 Wood Road, on Saturday for the Community and Alumni Celebration, one of the university's scheduled events for 2012 designated as the Year of the Arts and Humanities.
The 3-hour event offered various artistic and interactive showcases, including galleries, presentations, performances and more. Arts and humanities organizations, and individuals from around the region were showcased in various displays, including the "Shower Us with Creativity" display of umbrellas decorated by community members and alumni.
On Saturday afternoon, many looked upward toward the ceiling to gaze, often with mouths agape, at the decorative umbrellas hanging upside down. Yellow binoculars were available for those who wanted a closer look. They were able to vote for their favorite umbrella for the People's Choice Awards.
"They're so gorgeous, all of them," said university alumna Dianna Harris, 49, of Racine. The 2007 graduate, also a proud grandmother of two, decorated her umbrella with a baby shower theme.
Tom and Lois Van Dahm of Kenosha, 88 and 84 respectively, pored over the celebration program, debating which exhibit to visit next.
Tom Van Dahm, also the founding director of the Recorders of Merriewoode, which had performed at the center earlier that day, said he had his first and only recorder lesson at Parkside a few decades ago.
"It blows my mind I'm back here playing at Francis Bedford Concert Hall," he said. "It's special."
The 340-seat concert hall is a highlight of The Rita for its acoustic curtains that can be adjusted for different performing needs.
The Racine Art Museum's selection from its third annual Peeps exhibition, also on display at The Rita on Saturday, was a favorite among children.
Jackson Watters, 9, of Milwaukee, had gone through various exhibits including the galleries, and even an edible-book-making shop, but his favorite of the day was the Peeps show.
"I liked what they did with them," he said, specifically pointing out a display of Peeps playing poker.
On the other hand, his brother, Franklin, 4, was busy squeezing various tubes of different-colored frosting onto the two tablets of his toaster-pastry book. His favorite activity of the day? "This," he said with a smile as he squeezed a tube of black frosting to join the pile of blue and white with some red licorice roped together on top to complete his "circle book."
ABOUT THE RITA
-- The new Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities, aka "The Rita," opened in late January. It's a 170,000-square-foot center at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside providing performance and exhibition facilities for students and faculty as well as the southeastern Wisconsin region.
-- Check out the new "black box" Studio Theatre, which has the flexibility to seat up to 180 people, in various configurations
-- Or the 340-seat Frances Bedford Concert Hall, which is fitted with level-upon-level of acoustic curtains to accommodate needs of different performing groupsIn the photo, the Recorders of Merriewoode play at the Community and Alumni Celebration Saturday in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities.