Grand opening of “The Rita”
This evening, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside hosted a reception for the grand opening of “The Rita” (the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities). After more than twenty years of creative, collaborative planning and brainstorming by members of both the UW-Parkside campus family and the diverse communities that we serve, the new “Rita” officially opened tonight. “This is the beginning of something truly great — a cultural renaissance for the place that we call ‘home,’ said Dean Yohnk, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The reception was open to the public. Visitors could walk around the main and the concourse levels. Various music, visual art, theater, and humanities events and performances were scheduled throughout the evening. Some of the offerings were a percussion performance, a choral and vocal performance, la camerata and flute ensemble, a jazz ensemble, airbrush demonstrations, a bilingual reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and ceramic mini-demonstrations. Bells would signal the start of the three different performance times.
Debbie Ford, chancellor of UW-Parkside, said, “The hallmarks of the university can be found throughout this building. Student Success; Academic Excellence; Diversity and Inclusiveness; and, of course, Community Engagement. The Rita exemplifies not only the mission of our university, but the vision of its namesake, Rita Tallent Picken. From her timeless efforts to grow the UW-Kenosha Center into what is today the UW-Parkside, to establishing the Capsule College, Rita Tallent Picken understood the importance of connecting higher education to our communities.”
Since 1986, the UW-Parkside and Fireside Theatre partnership has been a hit. The partnership between the two organizations was formally honored with the naming of the set design and construction space in the Rita as The Fireside Theatre Scenic Studios.