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Overture Center for the Arts

Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter


As I look up and see summer coming to an end it signals the beginning of fall and our fall season. Reflecting on the summer, I recognized that our human spirit was challenged by historic flooding across the state, wildfires across the great upper north west and torrential rains from hurricane Florence on the east coast. It made me think of how important it is for us to seek the arts as a refuge. The arts have a healing property that moves us and lifts our spirit in a way nothing else can. I encourage you to give yourself time for the enjoyment of community, family, and friends through the arts. Whether it is a play, musical performance or art exhibit find time to be transported and uplifted by art.

We have had an incredible summer for D & I events and programs and look forward to a great season. I encourage you to join us.

Ed Holmes, PhD

Ed Holmes

Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Sandra Gajic

Overture's new President & CEO

Overture Center for the Arts, the Overture Center Foundation Board of Directors and the CEO Search Steering Committee announced the appointment of Sandra Gajic as president and CEO through an international search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. Gajic will be joining the Overture staff effective Monday, September 24, 2018.

Community Advisory Board

New Overture Center Community Advisory Board Chair and Vice Chair Announced

Overture Center for the Arts’ incoming President and CEO Sandra Gajic announced today that Dawn Crim and Ananda Mirilli are the newly elected chair and vice chair of the center’s Community Advisory Board (CAB).

After the establishment of the CAB’s first charter, provisions were put in place to elect the group’s first chair and vice chair. Through a carefully orchestrated nomination and voting process, Crim and Mirilli were elected.

Summer in review

Comfort Wasikhongo
Comfort Wasikhongo

“A Social Construct” by Comfort Wasikhongo presented in Gallery III revealed the anatomy and strength of the human body through paintings of professional bodybuilders. Comfort Wasikhongo Gallery Exhibit hosted approximately 400 in a special reception on FRI, JUN 29. At the formal opening viewers moved through the exhibit, they responded knowingly to the paintings of major figures in body building, hip-hop, and sports cultures. The bold color, stylized realism, flat design elements, and three-dimensional forms in the various compositions revealed the influences of American Pop Art, popular culture, television, magazines, newspapers, and digital media.” -Jonathan Gramling, Capital City Hues

The Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo' Band
TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo' Band with Jontavious Willis

On WED, AUG 8, Overture Center for the Arts welcomed TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band with Jontavious Willis who performed a variety of their music. TajMo, which was released on MAY 5, 2017 via Concord Records, marks a once-in-a-lifetime convergence of the talents of two unique American artists who had already built significant individual legacies and have consistently expanded and extended American blues traditions into astonishing new territory. The collaboration continues to bring out the best in both artists, who merge their distinctive voices, personalities and guitar styles to create vibrant, immediate music that’s firmly rooted in tradition yet ruled by a restless, spirited sense of adventure.

Special thanks to Wisconsin Public Radio and The Isthmus for sponsoring this performance.

Belinda Davids
The Greatest Love of All

Whitney Houston’s musical legacy was brought to life in this critically acclaimed stage show. Belinda Davids was phenomenal – a RiSA chart-topping artist in her home country of South Africa – Belinda was non-stop energy and engaging personality that embodied the iconic pop stars mannerism and prolific vocal stylings for two hours. Belinda took the stage with the accompaniment of a five-piece live band, two background vocalists and four choreographed dancers with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, vision and theatrical effects. This was a beautifully crafted tribute to one of the world’s most revered vocalists. Special thanks to the many community partners that were in the audience to support this wonderful tribute concert.    

Skeleton Crew
Skeleton Crew presented by Forward Theater Company

Come join us for the Wisconsin Premiere of Skeleton Crew! There are still tickets available for this incredible show.

At the start of the Great Recession, one of the last auto stamping plants in Detroit is on shaky ground. Faye, Dez, and Shanita are a tight-knit family of workers navigating the likelihood of losing their jobs, while their foreman Reggie is torn between his team and his career.

As power dynamics shift, they are all pushed to the limits of forgiveness. When the line between blue-collar and white- collar gets blurred, how much are they willing to risk for each other?

“Like Lorraine Hansberry and August Wilson before her, Morisseau creates characters who don't merely speak, they sing with the vernacular of their community. Rarely has dialogue ever felt so much like eavesdropping on an actual conversation." – TheatreMania.com

Deja Mason

Please welcome Overture’s first Diversity & Inclusion intern, Deja Mason.

Deja graduated from the UW Madison School of Business in the Spring of 2017 with a degree in Management and Human Resources. She is currently pursuing her artistic goals both on and off the stage.

Deja is a vocalist who has been performing solo, in choirs, and with other performance groups her entire life and currently is a part of local Madison band, Wilder Deitz Singers. Deja says, she is a patron of the arts. “Growing up, my family made it a point to immerse me in all areas of artistry, be it visual with art and theatre or musically with concerts of every genre.” To continue to be a part of the art world, Deja decided to make it her career path. While a student at the Wisconsin School of Business, Deja took an Arts Enterprise class with Sarah Marty who introduced her to all that she could do with a background in arts and business. “I never truly realized how I could connect both aspects of my life together until I took that class.” Deja set out to make arts administration her career path. After working with the City of Madison Planning Department and the Arts Administrator, Karin Wolf, Deja was able to land the internship opportunity and is now working with Ed Holmes, Director of Diversity and Inclusion on D & I projects and Lyra Trapp (HR Director) on HR projects for the next nine months. 

Upcoming Programs & Events

Overture's Rising Stars
Overture's Rising Stars

SAT, SEP 15, 7:30 PM

Latino Art Fair
Latino Art Fair

SAT, OCT 6, 5 PM - 9 PM

Golpe Tierra
Golpe Tierra

SAT, OCT 6, 6 PM

Passing the Bass
Passing the Bass

THU, OCT 11, 7 PM

Kenny G
Kenny G

FRI, OCT 12, 8 PM

E. Faye Butler
E. Faye Butler - Songbook of Jazz

THU, OCT 25, 7 PM


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

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