626 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 802 / Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Administrative Office) / 414.347.1685 / fax 414.347.1690
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Original Theatreworks: Available for Touring
Healing Arts: Other wellness programs
Healing Arts: Tap the Potential Disability Awareness Month
Cultivating Community through Public Art: Parades, Festivals, more
Milwaukee Public Theatre is one of the area's few professional nonprofit touring companies that increases awareness of current social issues, promotes cultural diversity, and provides healing arts and wellness resources.
Artists & Performers include:
musicians - classical, jazz, hip hop, pop, world cultures, drummers, Broadway, opera, operetta
dancers - all styles
actors - classical characters, historical impersonators, improv performers
craft & workshop artists
face and body painters
flag & fire spinners
Milwaukee’s Tap the Potential program in October is designed to challenge stereotypes of disability through performances and artworks presented by artists who have disabilities themselves.
Milwaukee Public Theatre will audition and book artists in various performance disciplines. All performers will be paid. Please send a short description of your performance, a list of technical needs, your resume, and at least one reference by email.
Our working definition of “Artist with Disabilities” is anyone whose personal or professional life has been impacted by a physical or mental health condition. No clinical diagnosis or enrollment in any specific program is required. No public disclosure is required. Call 414-347-1685 or 414-405-4309 with any questions.
Milwaukee Public Theatre manages the performing artists for Tap the Potential, and is creating a partnership project with Renaissance Theatreworks. The Visual Art component is coordinated by Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin and VSA Wisconsin. Visual artists should contact Jennifer Vattendahl at Goodwill, 847-1991 or Heide Planey at VSA Wisconsin, 414-489-0541 regarding the art exhibition in October. Additional partners include Milwaukee County Office of Persons with Disabilities and Milwaukee Center for Independence.
Funding support for Tap the Potential is provided by Milwaukee County Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Milwaukee Public Theatre receives ongoing support from the Helen Bader Foundation, the United Performing Arts Fund, Milwaukee County CAMPAC, and the City of Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For last year's Tap the Potential summary, continue reading:
Our 2012 celebration of the creative talents of people with disabilities featured 18 free public performances by 125 performing artists presented by Milwaukee Public Theatre, in addition to other arts events around the county.Read details below, or find a summary report and more comments here. Video clip: interviews by Laura Langemo of Fox 6 Wake-Up News.
September 29, Mud River Lee reached an audience of 35 at The Coffee House
October 3, Pieces: In My Own Voice North Division High School presented to 150 MPS principals.
October 10, 7 to 9 am
Fox 6 "Wake Up News" 40,000 viewers enjoyed four live segments with Tap the Potential artists: a brief performance by Barbara Leigh, watercolor demonstration by Cammy Draheim, and music by Mud River Lee. Broadcast from Yankee Hill (Barbara's apartment building). Video clip: interviews
White Cane Safety Day Flash Mob with WABS youth
100 passers-by witnessed 100 people in this fun event at Clas Park (Milwaukee County Courthouse, 10th & Wells) Facebook Video: flashmob
October 15 Humor and Healing: The Art of Healing from a Patient’s Point of View Excerpts from Barbara Leigh’s one-woman show was performed for 85 faculty and nursing students at Marquette University School of Nursing, Emory Clark Hall
October 17, Pieces: In My Own Voice reached 150 faculty and students at Prince of Peace High School.
October 4 - October 18, Tap the Potential Artist Reception Mitchell International Airport The exhibit included pieces from Creative Power, VSA Wisconsin’s traveling statewide art exhibit. Visitors voted for their favorite work of art and left comments (see below). See photos of the October 18 event: VSA Singers and Easter Seals Color Guard; Speakers/performers: Cammy Draheim, Barbara Leigh (Milwaukee Public Theatre), Bob Deckert (Goodwill Industries). 64 artists participated. Over 2,250 airport visitors viewed the exhibit.
October 19, Gallery Night at The Grand Avenue Club. Mud River Lee performed for 100 guests.
Friday, October 19 Gallery Night Independence First. Bold/Visual 2012: Juried exhibition of work by Joe Haasch, Grace Mattson, Sara Pifher and Sara Mueller. The Strong Hearts Step Team performed on Gallery Night.
October 23, Pieces: In My Own Voice reached 650 faculty and students at two shows at Brown Deer High School.
October 24 Cammy Draheim, presented Watercolor Therapy set to Music to 40 participants, and Angela Smith conducted Nia movement sessions with female participants at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (not open to the public)
October 24, Children of the Sun/Jahmes Finlayson drum troupe reached 650 people as part of Milwaukee School of Engineering Wheelchair Days, Oct 22-26. Students spent part of their day using a wheelchair, and played a wheelchair basketball game against Milwaukee Thunder. About 50 participated at MSOE's Kern Center.
October 26, Reincarnation: 30 people attended the exhibition of visual art, poetry and prose by Nadia Smale Orcanine Abbey 1718 N. First Street, Studio 5N2
<--October 27, ColettaScope Our friends of St. Coletta Day School held an annual auction of student artwork at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Read more.
October 28, Mud River Lee performed for 75 at Unitarian Universalist Church North.
William Sweeney, piano will be rescheduled for Wilson Park Senior Center 2607 W. Howard Avenue, Milwaukee
Partners in 2012 include Milwaukee Public Theatre, VSA Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Office of Persons with Disabilities, Life Navigators, Independence First, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Curative Care Network, and Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin.
<-- Milwaukee County Transit System again developed a special bus pass commemorating Disabilities Awareness Month.
Funding sources include the Milwaukee County Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the Wisconsin Arts Board with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Milwaukee County CAMPAC. Milwaukee Public Theatre is a member of the United Performing Arts Fund.
“Mud River Lee played for our (Grand Avenue Club) Gallery Night and Day. If you can picture a large gallery filled with appreciative viewers, dancing the Hora to bluegrass music, you can picture what a great evening we had. It was a fun and wonderful addition to our event.” - Coleen Kassner, Gallery Director, Gallery Grand
“I found TAP inspiring for the enthusiasm from the men on the (MSDF) pod, from their creative drawings to the smiles on the faces of the women when they were doing dance movements. It is fantastic that TAP found [Cammie Draheim] to help people understand different ways to cope with life stress and even if you have a disability there are different creative activities to help you feel inspired.” - Roberta Packard, Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility Social Worker
“Everyone I talked with said Children of the Sun Deaf Drum Troupe was very unique and a very well done performance. We were very pleased." - Eric Rybold, MSOE Wheelchair Days
“Dr. Barbara Leigh’s presentation was fantastic. It had so many different elements and dimensions, but with all great messages. She was inspiring through her story telling and personal tragedy- turned comedy. She was entertaining and relatable with how she turned her situation into a positive life-changing one-woman play. And she was motivating to those working towards being in the health care field, because she made it clear that those in her life made a big impact and all the difference in the world. I also enjoyed her perspective on the healing process and is a lesson I will carry with me in my future career." - Nursing Student, Marquette University
You did such a great job on your artwork. - Austin (age 7)
Totally awesome work! I loved having the privilege of looking at all of your work!!! Thank you for making my morning great! - Jesse Maier J Cottage Grove Wisconsin to Norfolk, VA – work in the Navy
Amazing work people! Thanks for adding some ‘life’ to the airport!
This artwork is beautiful. I love to walk by and see it! – Alicia from United Airlines
Great job!! – Kim & Shawn Toronto, Canada
Wonderful idea! Great exhibit. Thanks for sharing your talents.
Thank you for showing us new ways to see our work. People with possibilities teach us so much! – Shauna
THANK YOU for sharing your talent with us! It’s all great and raises good awareness - J Janesville, WI
Amazing! I love this show! – Here from London, England
Read more comments.
Read an interview with Barbara Leigh, "Acting, drawing, thriving: A new perspective on disability" published by the Third Coast Digest in 2010.