Creativity Isn’t Canceled

Theater, tour and workshop seasons may not look the same
this summer, but organizers are working hard crafting alternatives

In the wake of cancellation announcements about the Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair and American Players Theatre, above, creative alternatives are emerging to help maintain cultural connections and provide income-replacement opportunities.
Photo courtesy of American Players Theatre

On May 15, American Players Theatre announced the cancellation of its 2020 summer season and the move of 2020 productions to the 2021 season. The theater hopes to be able to produce plays in some fashion this fall if restrictions on public gatherings are lifted, and leadership deems the situation safe for patrons and company. As Artistic Director Brenda DeVita said in a press release, “When we’re able, we’ll be ready.”

Managing Director Carrie Van Hallgren said, “75 percent of our operating budget comes from earned income, and with no audiences in 2020, the financial hit to APT is simply unprecedented. The boards of APT and the APT Foundation are leading the way to help secure the theater’s future, offering a dollar-for-dollar match up to $750,000 to inspire ticket buyers to convert the value of their tickets into tax-deductible donations. We are hopeful that doubling the impact of these contributions will encourage our incredible audience to support us during this challenge, and ensure that we will be here, ready to welcome them back to APT as soon as it is safe to do so.”

All ticketholders will be contacted by APT with more information, and can find answers to frequently asked questions at americanplayers.org/faq.

At the same time, APT announced a play-reading series in cooperation with PBS Wisconsin. Out of the Woods, play readings performed and recorded live by APT’s Core Acting Company and other APT actors, will be streamed live and recorded by PBS Wisconsin and posted at 7 p.m. Fridays June 5-July 10 at pbswisconsin.org. They will be free to view, and available for a limited time.

Two days before the APT announcement, the Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair Committee announced that the 51st annual fair scheduled for June 27-28 was being canceled.

“The Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair Committee is aware of the significant impact this decision will have on artists, local businesses, local service groups, tourists and the supportive community we live in,” their press release said. “In good conscience, the 51st annual Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair cannot take place this year. Planning the fair takes an investment of time, energy and money. But with this year, the feasibility of keeping hundreds of artists, thousands of visitors and our family, friends and neighbors healthy and safe, weighed deeply on us.  

“We look forward to seeing all of you at the Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair June 26-27, 2021.”

In the wake of the fair’s cancellation, which for area organizations that provide concessions or work at the fair offers an opportunity to earn a large portion of their annual budget, the Arts Lab Artist Cooperative is creating an online art auction offering a way to enjoy a new piece of original and inspiring art while supporting local youth groups. 

Visit www.32auctions.com/ALA June 24-28 to bid on works by Vicky Lilla, Ricki Bishop, Mary Jo Henkel, Mary Zimmerman and others. 

One hundred percent of the proceeds of the auction will benefit the organizations scheduled to participate in the 2020 Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair: River Valley Soccer, River Valley Girls Swim Team, River Valley Girls Fastpitch, River Valley Music Boosters and Boy Scouts Troop 36.

Arts Lab, housed at 143 S. Washington St. in Spring Green, seeks to share artmaking with the local and regional community, and with visitors to the area through the Arts Lab Artists Cooperative Gallery, workshops and arts events. Arts Lab Cooperative members and guest artists have donated works in watercolor, oil and mixed media, Kumihimo braided cord jewelry and whimsical Joybot sculptures for this special benefit auction.

Purchased items will be available for curbside pick-up at the Arts Lab Gallery by appointment. For more information, email artslabspringgreen@gmail.com. 

From Viroqua to Baraboo, Boscobel to Cross Plains, Platteville to Mount Horeb, and throughout the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, arts and culture and nonprofit organizations as well as small businesses and chambers of commerce are finding creative ways to safely reopen and work to recover lost income from canceled or postponed fundraisers and events. You’ll find many of them listed on pp. 10-12, where we hope soon to get back to the business of promoting their activities in print and online. In the meantime, you can consult their websites and social media channels, refer to our website calendar for updates throughout June, and consider supporting the advertisers whose support is essential to the continuation of this small business.