Tom Strini
Milwaukee Scribe

Hot news from UPAF, MAM, more

UPAF goal; MAM, War Memorial strike deal; Present Music clears up "Midas" seating; young dancer's a winner; Cecsarini honored.

By - Mar 12th, 2013 09:34 pm

Dani Kuepper, of Danceworks, is a poster girl for the 2013 UPAF campaign.

1. The United Performing Arts Fund announced a goal of $11 million for 2013 at their announcement ceremony late Tuesday afternoon at the Pabst Theater. Charles Harvey, Gail Lione and Gary (Skip) Poliner, co-chairs of the fund drive, presided, calling 11 placard-bearers to the stage and building suspense by rearranging the zeros, ones, commas and a superfluous quotation mark before arriving at the true figure.

UPAF’s $11 million for 2013 compares with $10 million for 2012, a goal the organization, led by president/CEO Deanna Tillisch, exceeded. In a new wrinkle, UPAF will announce the final 2013 tally on June 2, at the end of the annual Miller Lite Ride for the Arts cycling event. The workplace giving component of the 2013 drive is already underway. Poliner said that Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance employees pledged $520,000 last Thursday, the first day of the workplace effort. Harvey read a long list of donated premiums meant to entice potential donors to give $50 or $100 more than last year. At the top of the list: A Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Harley donated a bike last year, and UPAF officials have said that the chance to win it brought in many donors.

At the Pabst, the six UPAF Cornerstone groups — First Stage, the Milwaukee Rep, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Skylight Music Theater — collaborated on a 25-minute Romeo and Juliet collage, with a dash of West Side Story. They entertained a sizable crowd of arts staffers, volunteers and donors.

In addition to the Cornerstone groups, UPAF raises funds nine Member groups: Bel Canto Chorus, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, MYSO, Danceworks, Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Next Act Theatre, Milwaukee Public Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks. UPAF also disburses project grants to other arts groups and has become increasingly involved in arts education as funding has for the arts has dried up in public education.

2. The War Memorial Corporation and the Milwaukee Art Museum have reached a tentative agreement regarding the ongoing management of the buildings and grounds occupied by both organizations. Lead negotiators for both organizations finalized a term sheet last week. The two parties announced the agreement at a County Parks Committee meeting Tuesday.

The boards of each organization must ratify the term sheet and Milwaukee County must approve and finalize a variety of legal documents before the deal takes effect. The War Memorial runs an exhibit and meeting space in the 1957 Eero Saarinen building that also houses part of the Milwaukee Art Museum holdings and MAM’s office. That building and the 1972 Kahler addition had deteriorated significantly and were putting the museum’s collection at risk. Museum and the War Memorial corp. officials had been sparring of the terms of the museum’s proposal for a $25 million repair and upgrade and over control of a parking lot on the north side of the complex.

The two parties released these prepared statements Tuesday:

“We’re very pleased to announce that through committed negotiations by both the War Memorial Corporation and the Milwaukee Art Museum, we have reached a fair and solid agreement regarding the ongoing management of the buildings and grounds occupied by both organizations,” said Dan Keegan, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. “This agreement helps pave the way for the Art Museum’s planned $15 million investment and the County’s investment of $10 million.”

View of the Art Museum/War Memorial complex, including a planned eastward expansion of the Kahler addition. Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“This is a positive step forward for the War Memorial Corporation and we look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship with the Art Museum,” said American Legion state adjutant David Kurtz, on behalf of the War Memorial negotiations team. “The improvements planned through the support of the Art Museum and the County will ensure the War Memorial can continue its mission to honor the dead by serving the living.”

Both parties expressed appreciation to Justice Janine Geske for her work in facilitating the agreement. They also thanked Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and County Executive Chris Abele for their involvement and for appointing Justice Geske as a mediator.

Highlights of the agreement:

Both the Art Museum and War Memorial Center will operate as legally independent organizations with separate governance structures. They will collaborate on some matters involving programming and events for Veterans.

The War Memorial Center will continue to manage, maintain and control spaces that it currently occupies, including the level one north entrance and third and fourth floors of the Saarinen Building and level two south entrance along with the Fitch Plaza/roof of the Kahler Building.

The Art Museum will manage, maintain and control spaces it currently occupies in the 1957 Eero Saarinen-designed War Memorial and the 1972 Kahler building addition, along with the exterior of the lower portion of the Saarinen building and the entire exterior of the Kahler building.

The Art Museum will move forward with plans for a $15 million renovation including gallery and building improvements.

The North Tract – an area of land north of the War Memorial Center buildings including parking lots – will remain under lease to the War Memorial Center. Any future development proposed for the property by either the War Memorial Center or the Art Museum is subject to approval by the other party in addition to Milwaukee County.

The War Memorial Center and the Art Museum will collaborate on a hybrid-engineering model supporting the separation of the campus mechanical systems.

The War Memorial Center Art Museum will control revenue derived from their respective spaces/activities.

3. In the beginning, tickets for Present Music’s premiere of Kamran Ince’s The Judgment of Midas April 12-13 were to be sold through the UWM Peck School of the Arts box office, and they were to be reserved seats.


Tom Strini, on deadline in the fast-paced TCD newsroom.

Both those conditions have changed. Present Music is now handling all ticket sales and requests for the premiere of Ince’s opera, and seating in UWM’s Zelazo Center will be general. So for all your Midas ticket needs, call Present Music, 414 271-0711 ext 5 or buy at the Present Music website. By the way, student tickets start at $15.

But this event — a big one, artistically — remains a collaborative effort of Present Music and the Peck School of the Arts, and remains a signature event of UWM’s Year of the Arts.

4. Jennifer Hackbarth, 14,  was awarded the Youth Grand Prix Award at the recent Indianapolis Semi-Final Youth America Grand Prix. The YAGP is America’s first and the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition; 6,500 dancers from 24 different countries compete in 15 semi-final competitions all over the world for a chance to compete at the YAGP Finals. Hackbarth, a Whitefish Bay resident and a student at the Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy, won the Youth Grand Prix Award. This is occasionally presented to the dancer the jury declares exceeded all other dancers in his or her division in both the Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance categories.

Mireille Favarel, former MBC principal dancer, is Jennifer’s coach at the Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy.

In Indianapolis, Hackbarth danced the “Sugar Plum” variation from The Nutcracker, the “Lilac Fairy” variation from The Sleeping Beauty, and Emergence, by Timothy O’Donnell, Artist and Choreographer in Residence for Milwaukee Ballet. Hackbarth advances to the YAGP World Finals in New York April 12-17.

5. David Cecsarini, the producing artistic director of Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre, is one of three winners of The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin’s annual civil libertarian awards.  The ACLU will honor him, Barbara Miner, a writer, editor and champion of public education, and Michael Freytes, a youth organizer and community activist at the ACLU’s 34th annual Bill of Rights Celebration Saturday, March 23, at The Hamilton.

Categories: Art, Classical, Dance, Theater

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