UW-Parkside to commemorate the Rita’s 10th anniversary with open house on April 24

Published: April 14, 2022

Rita 10 Year

Somers, Wis. - The Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside invites the Racine and Kenosha communities to “A Sunday at the Rita,” an open house to be held on April 24 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Rita.

The event will be held from 1 to 7 p.m., and will feature a performance by Parkside Range at 3 p.m. in Bedford Concert Hall and a reception for Together Again: Racine/Kenosha at 4:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Gallery.

Heins Walker_Lesley2“It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the inauguration of the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for the Arts and Humanities,” said Lesley Walker, dean of the college of arts and humanities at UW-Parkside. “It has been a very busy decade indeed.”

In any given year, more than 50 concerts are performed in the “acoustically impeccable” Frances Bedford Concert Hall, 40 productions are mounted in the two theatres, and the galleries welcome local, national and international artists, said Walker. “One of the highlights of my job is the thrill I get when I walk into the building past The Life Expressive, and take a few moments to view on the large monitor in the lobby what’s happening that week in the Rita,” she said.

The Rita officially opened in January of 2012 after several years of construction and 20 years of planning the $30 million project, according to Walker. The opening represents “collaborative planning and brainstorming by members of both the UW-Parkside campus family and the diverse communities that we serve,” Dean Yohnk, former dean of Parkside’s college of arts and humanities, stated in the program for the Rita’s grand opening. Yohnk is now dean of the college of arts and sciences at UW-River Falls.

“This, we believe, is the beginning of something truly great — a cultural renaissance for this place that we call “home,” said Yohnk at the time of the Rita’s grand opening.

The expansion of the Rita has allowed for robust engagement with the community in southeastern Wisconsin.  The Racine Symphony regularly performs in Bedford Hall, local community members play and sing in UW-Parkside bands, orchestra, and choirs; and world-class jazz musicians perform every March during Jazz Week.

In addition, more than 1,400 subscribers enjoy the Foreign Film Series, while regional artists display their work in the Rita’s art galleries, and high school teachers attend workshops offered by the UW-Parkside art faculty. Through the Rita’s theatre matinee series, regional high school students have taken advantage of theater performances.

When making her transformational gift to UW-Parkside, Kitty Picken sought to honor her stepmother, Rita Tallent Picken, by spurring the creation of a regional center for the arts and humanities in southeastern Wisconsin. “Our celebration of the opening of the Rita carries this dream into the future as we look forward to the next ten years,” Walker said.

Highlights of the day include:

1 to 7 p.m.  Open Labs and Studios and Refreshments in the Fine Arts Gallery

  • English student videos, Black Box Theatre
  • Communication student videos, Foundation Gallery
  • Demonstrations in the Digital Fabrication Studio, D113
  • Demonstrations in the Painting Studio, D106

2 p.m.   Theatre demonstration: She Kills Monsters

               Main Stage Theatre

3 p.m.     Parkside Range

               Bedford Concert Hall

4:30 p.m. Reception for Together Again: Racine Kenosha

               Fine Arts Gallery

5 p.m.     Foreign Film Series: Another Round

               Student Center Cinema

5:30 p.m. Award announcement for Together Again

For more information, visit:  https://www.uwp.edu/therita/

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. We are a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.

Media contact:

Tannette Elie
Executive Director of University Relations
University of Wisconsin-Parkside

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