‘Crossings’ inspire creativity, connectivity, safety


Students rehearse a “Crossings” performance, part of the second annual Flourish Fest sponsored by the Creative Trust alliance of the Peck School of the Arts and providers to Milwaukee’s aging community.

Students rehearse a “Crossings” performance, part of the second annual Flourish Fest sponsored by the Creative Trust alliance of the Peck School of the Arts and providers to Milwaukee’s aging community. (Photo by Ron Zeilinger)

 The month-long Flourish Festival, a burst of collaborative intergenerational arts programming, kicks off May 1-2 with “Crossings,” three special performance events designed to inspire drivers to stop at marked and unmarked crosswalks and make Milwaukee safer for pedestrians of all ages. (Learn more about Flourish Festival below.)

“The performance aspect of ‘Crossings’ draws on an existing narrative in Milwaukee –our downtown movable bridges,” says UWM Professor of Theatre Anne Basting. “The guard rail goes down, the cars stop, the bridge goes up, you can’t drive through or you will plunge into a river. You can’t turn around or back up because there are cars in front and behind you. As a driver, you just stop.”

“Crossings” will be staged at three south side locations: Kinnickinnic, Logan and Russell avenues on May 1; St. Francis and Kinnickinnic avenues the morning of May 2; and, Packard and Ramsey avenues in Cudahy on the afternoon of May 2.

Throughout April, Basting collaborated with members of the Portland, Ore.-based Sojourn Theatre and Peck School of the Arts students. During workshop sessions at local senior apartment buildings and centers, seniors were invited to collaborate to help make Milwaukee a city that “SEES and STOPS for pedestrians.

During the “Crossings,” participants will hold sails (representing boats) as they cross streets, going between “safe harbors.” A safe harbor is a place that a resident in the neighborhood might want to go to, like the post office, bank or a coffee shop.

Basting says that the response to the program in Bay View has been overwhelming.

“From the city engineer, to the businesses at these intersections to politicians and high school students, people wanted to know how they could be part of the ‘Crossings.’”

Flourish Fest offers activities for all ages

Basting leads UWM theatre students in rehearsal for “Crossings.” (Photo by Ron Zeilinger)

Basting leads UWM theatre students in rehearsal for “Crossings.” 

‘Creative Trust’ beings together university, community

Flourish Fest continues throughout the month of May, offering programming under the umbrella of the Creative Trust – an alliance of the Peck School and providers to the aging community that Basting founded in 2012. The trust is committed to fostering life-long learning through the arts. Current projects include Arts at Home, designed to bring creative engagement to people living in their homes with the theme “The Islands of Milwaukee;” TimeSlips, UWM students facilitating creative storytelling sessions throughout Milwaukee; and Flourish Fest.

Most Flourish Fest events are free and open to the public. See creativetrustmke.com/ for further details, or email basting@uwm.edu

Flourish Fest Events

Sunday, May 4

“Moving Pictures”: Part of the Museum Mile Timeslips Celebration, and inspired by Timeslips storytelling, a live interactive performance that imagines the stories behind art.

Session #1: Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 11:30 a.m.; Session #2: Charles Allis Art Museum, 12:30 p.m.; Session #3: St. Johns Museum of Wisconsin Art, 1:30 p.m.; Session #4: Villa Terrace, 3:30 p.m.; Session #5: Northpoint Light House, 4:30 p.m.

Monday through Saturday, May 5-30

“Solid Ground:  An Artistic Journey”: Display of the artwork created through a cross-generational collaboration. Luther Manor Adult Day Care Center, 4545 N. 92nd Street, Wauwatosa, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 15

“Spark! Memory and Arts Workshops”: Inspiring creative engagement with people experiencing memory loss. Workshops held at Milwaukee Public Museum at 2:30-3:30 p.m. (for families affected by memory loss) and 3:30-4:30 p.m. )for professionals and students).

 Thursday, May 22

“All-Festival Finale”: Family, staff, residents of all the Creative Trust groups are welcome to screen a new short film collage from the Cinderella and Crossings Workshops. Chai Point Senior Living-Rubenstein Pavilion, 1400 N. Prospect Ave., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.