RANGER RECOVERY: Updated mask / face covering requirements
At the Rita: Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities

Support the RIta

Play a part. Let's make music together. Your support is an important element in everything we produce. We love having you in the audience. But if you would like to contribute more, we are here to help.  Below are a few of the ways you can support the arts at Rita. Let us know if you have more ambitious or creative ways to contribute.

College of Arts and Humanities Support

Support student scholarships and student productions in the performing and visual arts and the humanities.

  • Theatre
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Humanities

Rita Operational Support

  • General - Keep the lights on.
  • Events - Support the season or specific events
  • Corporate Sponsors - Get your name out there, let the region know that you support the arts!

Contact the office of the College of Arts and Humanities

Lesley Walker, Dean  |  262-595-2188



Kitty Picken believes her stepmother — and fellow adventurer — Rita Tallent Picken would be quietly pleased to have her name associated with Parkside’s arts and humanities center.

The Rita embodies many of the things Rita strived for when the Kenosha campus was created in the 1960s — and that she helped nurture during the next decade. 

“Rita loved the arts, she loved culture,” Kitty said. “She would be thrilled to know her name is on a building that will host such a variety of artistic and cultural events.”

Rita, along with her first husband, Bernard Tallent, was instrumental in the creation of UW-Parkside. Kitty said Rita was proud when Tallent Hall was posthumously named for Bernard. Tallent led the two-year UW-Kenosha campus and strongly advocated a four-year campus be opened here. Rita’s voice was part of the chorus advocating UW-Parkside’s creation.

Joining the university’s administration shortly after the campus opened, Rita naturally gravitated toward community engagement, making it her mission to bring the campus to people and people to the campus. 

Excerpt from an article by Dave Buchanan with contributions by Journal Times reporter David Steinkraus.

Kitty Picken

The naming of The Rita in honor of Rita Tallent Picken was part of a $3.5 million donation made by Kitty Picken. For many reasons, placing her name on the regional center for arts and humanities would have pleased her stepmother and good friend: 

“The important thing is that it’s the arts building, and that it’s a community building, and it’s Parkside. All of those things would have made it very special to her.”


The musical highlight of The Rita is the 340-seat Frances Bedford Concert Hall. Enveloped in the warmth of maple paneling on the first level and reflective maple acoustical clouds above, the space is beautiful. What truly sets it apart, however, are the superior acoustics. 

The large volume above ceilings and catwalks helps support strong natural acoustic environments appropriate for musical groups large and small. Combined with adjustable acoustic curtains and quiet mechanical systems, spaces can be altered to effectively accommodate different performance types — from a delicate harpsichord recital to a large brass band concert.

When the Frances Bedford Concert Hall debuted with two sold-out performances of Handel’s “Messiah” in December of 2012, one member of the orchestra was thrilled and a little relieved to have the new performance space open. That orchestra member, the harpsichord player, also happened to be the person whose name graces the venue: Emerita Professor of Music Frances Bedford.

Excerpt from an article by Dave Buchanan with contributions by Journal Times reporter David Steinkraus.

Frances Bedford

Professor Bedford’s $500,000 gift ensured that UW-Parkside students would no longer have to present their music in spaces better suited for plays, films, or the spoken word. Music becomes an otherworldly experience when the acoustics are right. According to Professor Bedford:

"An acoustically perfect hall lets the sound ‘bloom’ into space and momentarily create the illusion of another dimension. This facet of the hall was the number-one priority for me."


Parkside is an exceptional place for students studying the arts and humanities because of the many cultural events at The Rita. Additionally, our ideal location in the Milwaukee-Chicago metro area gives students access to limitless opportunities.

Box Office


The Rita, Ground Floor
900 Wood Rd. 
Kenosha, WI 53144
Parking: Lot B, C

About The Rita

Since 1968, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has continued to build a reputation as an outstanding liberal arts institution with particularly strong fine arts programs. With The Rita Tallent Picken Center for Arts & Humanities, our state-of-the-art instructional facilities and stunning performance venues match our award-winning academic programs and provide even greater community access. Read more about The Rita.

Visit The Rita  |  Download Campus Map

Scroll to top