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SOMERS – UW-Parkside is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for the Arts and Humanities with “A Sunday at the Rita” on April 24, 2022. The event will take place from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m., and will feature a performance by Parkside Range at 3 p.m. in Bedford Concert Hall. Following that, there will be a reception for Together Again: Racine/Kenosha at 4:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Gallery.

Dean Lesley Walker – ©UW-Parkside/Alyssa Nepper 2019

“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. This was after several years of construction and 20 years of planning. The project cost totaled $30 million dollars, 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 grand opening.

The expansion of the Rita at UWP has allowed for robust engagement with the community. The engagement from the community has thrived 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.

Additionally, more than 1,400 subscribers enjoy the Foreign Film Series that takes place at UW-Parkside’s facility. This allows regional artists to display their work in the Rita’s art galleries. Furthermore, high school area 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 future as we look forward to the next ten years,” Walker said.

Event Schedule for Sunday at the Rita

The upcoming event will include the following:

  • 1 p.m. 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 performs at Mains Stage Theatre
  • 3 p.m
    • Parkside Range peforms at Bedford Concert Hall
  • 4:30 p.m. 
    • Reception for Together Again: Racine Kenosha takes place in the Fine Arts Gallery
  • 5 p.m. 
    • Foreign Film Series: Another Round viewing in the Student Center Cinema
  • 5:30 p.m. 
    • Award announcement for Together Again
Grammy Award-winning baritone Bill McMurray performed at the Rita as part of the inaugural Wisconsin Black Art & Culture Expo on Feb. 18, 2022; just one of the many exceptional experiences offered in part by UW-Parkside’s The Rita. – Credit: Loren Lamoreaux

For more information about the Rita visit: https://www.uwp.edu/therita/.

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