MKE ARTS LIVE! taping
In fall 2017, the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) held its inaugural Performing Arts Awareness Campaign, which shifted the organization’s emphasis on fundraising for local arts groups to raising public awareness of the performing arts in general throughout the greater Milwaukee area. Due to the success of that effort, UPAF has branded September 2018 “Performing Arts Month,” and, in so doing, continues its efforts to both create and cultivate an affinity for performing arts in our region.
“Not only do we want to celebrate the arts lovers who know and appreciate the great number of performing arts options in Milwaukee,” says UPAF’s public relations and social media coordinator Katie Korek, “but we also want to reach those who may not be attending performing arts shows but are predisposed to liking the arts, culture and all things Milwaukee.”
Last year, UPAF inaugurated a four-episode podcast titled MKE Arts Live. They’re continuing this effort with three 30-minute episodes on consecutive Mondays (Sept. 10, 17 and 24). Each podcast—presented in conjunction with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee—consists of a blend of arts and cultural guests and live performances taped in front of a studio audience and streamed live. In addition to this series, Korek states, UPAF’s Performing Arts Month campaign offers “live performances in the Northwestern Mutual Tower at Doors Open Milwaukee, refinements to our existing mkearts.com microsite and more, all of which continue our theme of ‘Home is Where the Arts is.’”
Not Just Another Fundraiser
For those who might think that the Performing Arts Month campaign is simply a means to the end of putting more money into the organization’s coffers, UPAF chief marketing officer David Fantle begs to differ. “For many years, UPAF has conducted its extensive fundraising campaign during a 15-week period starting in March. That will not change,” he says. “But it has long been the desire of our 14 member groups and UPAF to conduct some type of formalized awareness campaign as the performing arts season begins in earnest right after Labor Day. During the spring campaign, UPAF, itself, takes center stage; in September, however, the spotlight is on our performing arts groups.”
Helping to raise the curtain on the 2018-’19 performing arts season in Milwaukee is the aforementioned MKE Arts Live podcast—a series of variety shows featuring interviews, panel discussions, live performances and audience interaction with local raconteur Adam Carr serving as host and guide. The September podcast tapings (all of which held at the 88Nine Radio Milwaukee Performance Space, 220 E. Pittsburgh Ave.) are free and open to the public. Guests include such notables as May Adrales (Milwaukee Rep), Linda Edelstein (Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra), Christine Flasch (Southwestern Suburban Symphony), Julia Glawe (Milwaukee Ballet), the Shepherd Express’ own John Schneider and Raj Saha, general manager of the brand-new home of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team, the Fiserv Forum.
The weekend of Sept. 22-23 is Doors Open Milwaukee, to which UPAF is contributing mightily. Doors Open Milwaukee is a two-day public celebration of Milwaukee-area art, architecture, culture and history. It offers behind-the-scenes tours of more than 170 buildings throughout Downtown Milwaukee and surrounding neighborhoods and more than 30 ticketed tours led by community leaders.
UPAF has assembled something of a “greatest hits” collection of performing arts groups for shows in the Northwestern Mutual Commons and Tower, 805 E. Mason St. UPAF-sponsored live performances by the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera Company, Danceworks, First Stage and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra take place at the building between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
‘Home is Where the Arts is’
“As the summer outdoor season winds down, the region’s performing arts groups heat up,” says UPAF president and CEO Deanna Tillisch. “While UPAF raises dollars to support these groups financially, we’re using the month of September to really put the spotlight on our great performing arts assets.
“Nothing beats a live performance, and the Milwaukee area is home to a superb quality of theatre, music and dance—all accessible and affordable,” Tillisch continues. “We encourage people of all ages to attend one or more of our podcasts, come to our Doors Open Milwaukee event at the Northwestern Mutual building and taste a free sample of what’s all in store for this coming season.”
For more information about UPAF, call 414-273-8723, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit upaf.org. For more information about Doors Open Milwaukee, call 414-277-7795, email Grace Fuhr (Historic Milwaukee, Inc.) at email@example.com, or visit doorsopenmilwaukee.org.