Feature Article from The Whitewater Press - Holiday / Winter 2011 www.thewhitewaterpress.com
By Leslie LaMuro ~ Entertainment Director
Leslie LaMuro had been the marketing director of UW-Whitewater’s Young Auditorium for over 11 years and is active in the arts community. She lives in Fort Atkinson and is a UW-Whitewater alumna, a member of the Fort Atkinson Arts Council, Heart of the City, AAUW and is active in the Jefferson County Arts Leaders and Creativity Works as well as, regional chair of the Wisconsin Presenters Network. She loves where she lives and thinks there is something in the water around here that imbues people with creativity, talent and imagination! Keep drinking the water!
In Search of Artistic Treasures!
Have you ever stumbled upon a place that makes you say, “How come I’ve never been to this place before?” We often hear that from folks who come to the Young Auditorium for the very first time. Young Auditorium is what often is referred to as, “a hidden gem.”
In fact, many of the artists that perform here marvel at the size and quality of our venue and backstage accommodations, particularly as they drive through the rural beauty that surrounds our small community and then subsequently enter this incredible 1300 seat venue that has hosted some of the great artists of our time.
The Young is uniquely positioned between several major metropolitan areas and is quite happy to hold events during a week night as opposed to the much coveted weekend dates. This makes Young Auditorium a prime stop for touring Broadway musicals, nationally renowned artists, dancers and musicians who are crisscrossing the United States.
That is the reason we have made Artstanding in its Field our tag line; because Young is Art that is standing, quite literally, in the rural fields of southern Wisconsin and is something to be proud of – in fact it’s outstanding, or as we like to say Artstanding!
We take our grassroots and rural flavor to heart as do other rural arts organizations and artists who present or create art in rural settings. For those unfamiliar with the works of University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and grassroots arts visionary Robert Gard, here is one of his famous quotes that resonates with rural venues in Wisconsin.
“If we are seeking in America, let it be for the reality of democracy in the arts. Let art begin at home and let it spread through the children and the parents, and through the schools and the institutions, and through government. And let us start by acceptance, not negation-acceptance that the arts are important everywhere, and that they can exist and flourish in small places as well as large, with money or without it, according to the will of the people. Let us put firmly and permanently aside the cliché that the arts are a frill. Let us accept the goodness of art where we are now, and expand its worth in the places where people live.” - Robert Gard
One of the truths most prevalent in Gard’s teachings is that great art can be created and conceived anywhere. It’s not necessary to be in a major metropolitan area for great art to flourish, it is found in unincorporated towns as well as New York City, in rural and urban settings, and by artists young and old. It is sparked so often by the beauty in nature, by the winds singing through the trees, the vivid colors of the fall foliage, the melody of the songbirds or cacophony of evening frogs and crickets. Inspiration for great works of art can find purchase in any place imaginable and so often does.
Another anonymous quote that has recently surfaced and has gone viral throughout the internet is: “Earth without Art is just Eh.” It is a clever play on words that succinctly voices that same idea that Robert Gard shared above. Art is not a frill, but truly a thrill to be shared and enjoyed by all! There is a wealth of hidden gems throughout southern Wisconsin, go search out and sample the amazing artistic treasure to be found in your backyard, neighborhood or field!
17 The Nutcracker
29 Seussical - The Musical
10 Blue Suede Shoes - The Ultimate Elvis Bash
16 The Comedy of Errors - The Acting Company
20 Doubt - Montana Repertory Theatre
22 Ballet Folklorico De Antioquia, Colombia
29 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
7 The Original Tribute to The Blues Brothers
10 The Jungle Book - Missoula Children’s Theatre
10 The Rose Ensemble - And Glory Shone All Around
21 Hal Holbrook - Mark Twain Tonight!