Reasons and Seasons to Celebrate, Opening Night at Door Community Auditorium

Door Community Auditorium’s 2015 season opened on Sunday, June 14. The 24th season of a performing arts venue generally isn’t viewed as an auspicious benchmark, however, the auditorium’s opening came with plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Here are just a few:

The Colors of Our Lives: Door County, My Home Opens in The Link Gallery of Children’s Art

A crowd views the first exhibit in the new Link Gallery of Children’s Art.

This spring, The Link Gallery underwent an amazing transformation. After a month-long project that included the painting of a beautiful and inspiring cloud mural created by Ram Rojas and the installation of energy-efficient lighting, the space has reopened as The Link Gallery of Children’s Art. The gallery is Door County’s first exhibit space dedicated to the showing of artwork that portrays the world through the eyes of children.

The gallery’s inaugural exhibit, The Colors of our Lives: Door County, My Home, depicts Door County through the eyes of 85 students, ages 7-14, from Gibraltar and Southern Door Schools. The students – led by art teachers Ernest Beutel, Karla Donohue, and Emily Salm – were asked to create works depicting the things they love about their homes. Curated by Vinni Chomeau and Anne Emerson with assistance from Dan Cross, The Colors of our Lives exhibit will be on display all summer long.

The Link Gallery of Children’s Art is a collaboration of Door Community Auditorium (DCA), Friends of Gibraltar and Gibraltar Area Schools. The opening night reception and inaugural exhibit was made possible by the collaborative work of three organizations, three boards of directors, two school districts, three art teachers, 85 students, dozens of volunteers, a muralist, a poet, and two curators. So many groups and people working together and accomplishing something meaningful is indeed cause to celebrate.

Auditorium Becomes the First Public Performing Arts Venue in Door County with a Hearing Loop

With the generosity of local individuals, regional foundations, and an interest-free loan from longtime supporters, DCA was able to complete all of the Phase I improvements in its Sounds Great! Campaign this spring. The fundraising campaign supported the purchase and installation of a new lighting board, a new soundboard, new line-array speakers, and a hearing loop system for patrons with hearing loss.

DCA patrons test the new T-Coil Equipped Headsets.

A hearing loop provides an in-ear loudspeaker that cuts out a significant amount of background noise for individuals with hearing aids or cochlear implants, without the use of special headsets. A typical hearing loop system consists of a microphone, an amplifier and a thin copper wire, usually installed around the outer edges of a room. The wire is able to pick up the sound directly from a microphone, creating a magnetic field that transmits the sound directly to the hearing aid. In order for the hearing loops to work properly, hearing aids must be equipped with a telecoil, or t-coil.

About two-thirds of hearing aids and all cochlear implants on the market in the U.S. are already equipped with a t-coil. DCA also purchased new headsets with T-coils for patrons with hearing loss but without hearing aids. The difference between this new technology and the older, more common hearing assistance devices is like night and day. We’re eager for patrons to try it out – hearing is believing!

Bringing Living Legends and ‘Legends in the Making’ to Door County Audiences for Nearly 25 Years

DCA’s opening night concert featured local songstress Katie Dahl and the release of her third album, Ordinary Band. A crowd of 450 fans helped welcome Katie’s new recording and its 10 original tracks into the world. The new collection has deep Door County roots and universal charm. Clearly a legend in the making, Katie and her latest endeavor do us all proud. It’s no wonder that her career is quickly expanding beyond the peninsula where she makes her home.

DCA volunteers serving cake on Opening Night.

Within 10 days of Katie’s concert, living legend Mavis Staples makes her way to the DCA stage. With a career spanning six decades, Mavis’ path and personal life have intersected with countless other legends like Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Dylan, and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Hearing Mavis’ powerful alto voice belt out hits from her 15 solo albums and tell one captivating story after another is one of my most anticipated evenings of the summer.

What do Katie and Mavis have in common? These two 2015 Main Stage artists demonstrate the breadth, depth, diversity, and quality of DCA’s programming over the past 24 seasons. As 2016 grows near, we begin thinking about yet another celebration, the celebration of 25 years of bringing legends to our community and to our stage.

To that end, we’re beginning to collect 25th Anniversary greetings now. The Door County community is invited to share DCA memories, favorite shows, pictures, and hopes and wishes for the future. Anniversary cards are available in the lobby at DCA shows or you can send an anniversary greeting to [email protected] or to PO Box 397, Fish Creek, Wisconsin, 54212. We do hope you’ll add your voice to the celebration!

Cari Lewis is the executive director of Door Community Auditorium.

Peninsula Arts and Humanities Alliance, Inc., which contributes Culture Club throughout the summer season, is a coalition of nonprofit organizations whose purpose is to enhance, promote and advocate the arts, humanities and natural sciences in Door County.