Forward Theater & VSA Wisconsin Join Forces - January Blog 2014
by Karen Moeller

VSA Wisconsin and Forward Theater joined forces this winter to challenge perceptions and raise awareness about art and the creative process. In partnership with Forward's production of Red, VSA Wisconsin is presenting a corresponding exhibition “What is Art? A Showcase of Expressive Responses” created by adults with disabilities.

VSA Wisconsin is a statewide nonprofit organization that uses dance, drama, creative writing, music and visual art to celebrate the creative power and artistic accomplishments of people with disabilities. VSA Wisconsin’s choirs, artist residencies, art classes and workshops provide an outlet for creative expression and unlimited possibilities for personal, academic, and professional success.

Kathie Wagner, president of VSA Wisconsin says, “Our collaboration with Forward Theater has inspired us to think outside the box. We challenged the teaching artists at our art center to plan their fall classes around the theme What Is Art? They were excited and came up with new ideas for individual and collaborative art making that they hadn’t tried with our program participants. One teaching artist projected images of the work of famous artists. After viewing a Kandinsky, one participant, who had previously only drawn cats, drew something entirely different, and with complementary colors, for the first time. Another participant, who has a very short attention span, finished an entire art project and proudly pointed out shapes in his storybooks -- a new experience for him as well as for his father, who viewed the completed project with delight and surprise.”

Audience members for Red will be able to view samples of some of the VSA Wisconsin projects in the Playhouse Theatre lobby and talk more about this collaboration before performances. Patrons will also be invited to add their responses to "What is Art?".

All attendees and the public are invited to view more of the art works created by visiting VSA Wisconsin's exhibition, "What is Art? A Showcase of Expressive Responses," on view January 6 through April 10 at the VSA Wisconsin Gallery, 1709 Aberg Ave. in Madison. Hours are Monday-Thursday 9 am-3 pm or by appointment. And on Friday, February 7, you can celebrate the exhibition at VSA Wisconsin’s Beat the Winter Blues party from 5:30 – 8:00 pm.

Forward Theater is proud to be a part of this collaboration with VSA Wisconsin, and looks forward to sharing the amazing art created as we present Red!