Having trouble viewing this email?  |  View in browser

Overture Center for the Arts

Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

December 2017

Welcome to the first edition of Overture Center for the Arts' Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter! This bi-monthly publication is designed to showcase the exciting and important work Overture is doing to make our organization more inclusive and reflective of our community. We hope that you enjoy reading about the highlights of our efforts, including both past and upcoming special events, programming, staff, volunteers and community partners. Our goal is to keep you informed and apprised of our progress, and to encourage a dialogue with you so we stay focused on what is important and meaningful as we move forward in engaging all members of our diverse Overture community.

A lot has happened since we started this journey of making Overture a more diverse, welcoming, inclusive space. I'd like to give special thanks to the Cummings Christensen Family Foundation for its support of so much of this work. Thanks also to all who continue to engage with us around these efforts; your continued support is greatly appreciated.


Ed Holmes, PhD
Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Overture Center for the Arts

Highlights from Summer 2017

Faces of Incarceration: Changing the Narrative

Featured in the Playhouse Gallery, Faces of Incarceration: Changing the Narrative was comprised of portraits honoring and humanizing the people impacted by Wisconsin’s flawed criminal justice system. Artists of the Atwood Atelier and project creator Pat Dillon collaborated in these stories and portraits painted from life. Faces of Incarceration aimed to contribute to current conversations about race, justice and inequity.    

Directed by Ava DuVernay

On JUL 19, Overture collaborated with Justified Art! and GSAFE to present a free, public screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary, 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay, which examines the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. Centered on race in the United States criminal justice system, the film is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery, unless as punishment for a crime. DuVernay’s documentary argues that slavery is being effectively perpetuated through mass incarceration.

Milwaukee 53206
Directed by Keith McQuirter

The following month, on AUG 24, Overture screened the film, Milwaukee 53206, a one-hour documentary that chronicles the lives of those affected by incarceration in America’s most incarcerated ZIP code. Through the intimate stories of three 53206 residents, viewers witnessed the high toll that mass incarceration takes on individuals and families. The film also illuminates the story of people from across the United States who live with the daily effects of mass incarceration.

Diversity & Inclusion Summit
MON, SEP 11 & TUE, SEP 12

Overture Center for the Arts hosted its first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Summit on SEP 11 & 12, 2017. During these two days, Overture staff met with key stakeholder groups in a series of sessions to discuss progress on the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative to date, to elicit feedback and to identify opportunities to move the initiative forward. The Summit was led by Donna Walker-Kuhne of Walker International Communications Group, Inc., whose experience ranges from roles as Marketing Director for Dance Theatre of Harlem, to creating the first Diversity & Inclusion community engagement efforts for The Public Theater in NYC, to most recently her role as VP of Community Engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Overall, the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Summit provided important feedback to Overture, set a positive tone for the future and galvanized stakeholder support for this incredibly important and collaborative work.

Special thanks to Garth Alston & Altria for supporting this Summit.

Overture Presents: Fall 2017

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Overture partnered with nearby jazz club Café Coda for the JLCO with Wynton Marsalis performance in September to bring new audiences from the local jazz and African-American communities. The evening included a pre-show reception in Promenade Lounge. The performance sold over 400 tickets to households that had never attended Overture before.

Special thanks to Full Compass for sponsoring and Joe & Mary Ellyn Sensenbrenner for underwriting this performance.

La Santa Cecilia

Overture presented Grammy®-winning La Santa Cecilia, whose modern music perfectly exemplifies the hybrid of Latin culture, rock and world music, drawing inspiration from their Latin American influences and Mexican heritage and utilizing rhythms from cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz rock and klezmer music. Overture partnered with the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County and Centro Hispano of Dane County to encourage their communities to take advantage of Overture’s Race to Equity Ticket Access program. There was also a special meet-and-greet after the show with the band members and leaders from the Latino community who were in attendance.

Special thanks to Joe & Mary Ellyn Sensenbrenner for underwriting this performance.

Gregory Porter

Capitol Theater filled with music influenced by blues, soul and gospel in November as internationally acclaimed vocalist Gregory Porter came to Overture Center. This soulful singer-songwriter won Grammy Awards® in 2014 and 2017 for ‘Best Jazz Vocal Album.’ The New York Times described him as a “jazz singer of thrilling presence, a booming baritone with a gift for earthy refinement and soaring uplift.” A pre-show reception was held in Promenade Hall, with live music performed by a band made up of Overture friends, community members and staff.

Special thanks to Investment Services at UW Credit Union for sponsoring this performance.

Latino Art Fair

The La Santa Cecilia performance coincided with the 5th Annual Latino Art Fair, an initiative to showcase the richness of the Latino culture in South Central Wisconsin through an exhibit of local Latino artists’ work. 25 artists exhibited and sold their artwork, including paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry, dolls, music and more. 

The event is organized and sponsored each year by the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County with the support of Overture, Centro Hispano and the Latino Professionals Association.

In conjunction with the Latino Art Fair, the Rotunda Lobby was home to special the exhibition ¿Quiénes somos? (Who Are We?), featuring work by local Latinx artists, J. Leigh Garcia and Evelyn Galindo

Duck Soup Cinema

The Flying Ace (1926)


On SAT, NOV 4, The Flying Ace (1926) made its Duck Soup Cinema debut, with accompaniment by Jelani Eddington on the 1928 Grand Barton Organ. This inspiring silent film, one of the first of its kind featuring an all African-American cast, is set in World War I and tells the story of a fighter-pilot ace breaking through racial barriers to serve the nation, and his return to the U.S. after the war. Overture arranged for the film’s release from the Library of Congress and had to obtain special permission to screen it.

In association the screening of The Flying Ace, Overture presented an exhibit highlighting the history of African-American aviators, featuring both the real-life pioneers of flight who inspired the film and contemporary leaders who have broken barriers in our lifetime. Displayed in the Rotunda Lobby, the exhibit recognized just a few of the prominent individuals who represent the struggle faced by all African-Americans battling racial discrimination and demanding equality on the ground and in the skies.

Immediately following the film showing, a talk-back took place with Vaunce Ashby, the Director of Education at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and Al Whitaker, exhibition donor, Vietnam vet and commercial pilot.

The Duck Soup Cinema Series is sponsored by Goodman Jewelers.  

Coming Next...

There are many engagement opportunities at Overture on the horizon; below are just a few. We will be conducting specialized outreach to our community partners for these and other exciting events coming up this season!

Frostiball 2018

Help us celebrate Parisian-style during our biggest soiree of the year, Overture’s Frostiball 2018. You’ll enjoy sumptuous appetizers and desserts, dance to live music by The Upbeat Orchestra, sip signature craft cocktails and rub elbows with fellow arts enthusiasts — all while supporting the state’s largest nonprofit arts organization, Overture Center for the Arts.  

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

For over 50 years, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter. With a deep respect for both their cultural and personal history, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is ever-evolving with an eye toward their long musical legacy.

International Festival

Coinciding with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo performance is Overture's annual International Festival, featuring more than 30 FREE performances celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Dane County! Indulge in cuisines from around the world, browse stunning arts and crafts available for purchase and learn about the many local businesses with global connections.

The International Festival is supported by Madison Community Foundation, CUNA Mutual Group, Friends of Overture, Ho-Chunk Gaming and Dane Arts, with additional funds from the Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation Inc., the charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.  

Race to Equity funding provided by:

Altria, Cummings Christensen Family Foundation, Carl & Mary Gulbrandsen, Philip & Helen Bradbury, Madison Community Foundation, Scherr-Lloyd Fund, Overture Center Foundation Board of Directors and by contributions to Overture Center for the Arts.


Update your email preferences here.
If you no longer wish to receive our updates, please click to be removed.

Please do not respond to this email. Click here if you are having trouble viewing this email.

Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street, Madison, WI 53703

© 2017 Overture Center for the Arts. All rights reserved.