Artists of Kenosha and Czech Republic to collaborate Saturday

On Saturday, December 18, artists of Kenosha, WI and Prague in the Czech Republic will embark on a unique, collaborative experience known as The Artist Next Door. This project is designed to create an international, artistic dialogue.

In each city, artists will perform or present their work around a common theme for the enjoyment of both a live, local audience and an overseas audience, via video streaming. The Artist Next Door takes place locally at Noon on Dec. 18, at the Madrigrano Auditorium of Gateway Technical College, 3520 30th Ave. This performance is free.

The theme for this inaugural program is Graffiti. The event will explore through music, dance, poetry, public domain film, and visual art and the spoken word how man has made his mark on Earth for many centuries. It will demonstrate how cave art has become today’s graffiti on walls and railroad cars, while tribal piercings are now seen as tattoos and body painting. It will challenge assumptions about copyright, as artists through time have liberally borrowed and built upon the works of contemporaries and previous generations. It will examine the enigma of land and crop designs and the sky tracings of jet aircraft. It will have some fun with the recent phenomenon of yarn bombing.

Performers and presenters for this artistic journey include authors from the Kenosha Writers Guild, visual artists from Lemon Street Gallery and ArtWorks of Kenosha, musicians from Voices & Verses, actors from RG Productions, guitarist Brent Mitchell, and dancers from Laurenzi Dance. Students from the REAL School of Racine Unified School District, under the mentorship of artist and graffiti writer, Mario Gonzales, created a giant mural for this project. Images of this mural will be a part of the presentation. Kenosha TV, a service of Kenosha Community Media, will stream the program live over the Internet with the assistance of the Distance Learning Department of Gateway Technical College and Jeff Bass Productions.

Several local performers, including Karel Suchy, are traveling to the Czech Republic to coordinate this event there and join Prague artists in performance. Suchy is the founder and artistic coordinator of The Artist Next Door. Suchy was born in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia), where he led and wrote music for several avant-garde ensembles. Today, he sings with the Choral Arts Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, is the founder and director of Voices & Verses, and serves as Director of Music for Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Racine.

More information is available by calling (262) 598-0834 or by visiting the Voices and Verses page and the Artist Next Door group on Facebook.

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