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Featured Business: Fusion and the Kenosha Performing Arts Association

Featured Business: Fusion and the Kenosha Performing Arts Association

Kenosha Fusion

September 4th, 2015

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By:Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Don Miller is well aware that many music options exist in Kenosha: from free outdoor concerts in the summer to musicians set up in the corners of bars. So he set out to offer something different to visitors and residents of Kenosha. He opened Fusion – a unique listening and performance space featuring live performances of music, standup, plays, recitals, puppet shows, and much more. It’s a place where performers go to be heard. “I think every performer that’s performed here has commented on what a change it is for them to perform in a space like this where people are actually listening to them,” says Steve Hawkins, a volunteer at Fusion and board member of the Kenosha Performing Arts Association, the non-for-profit that runs the place.

Don purchased the building at 5014 Seventh Avenue in Downtown Kenosha during the end of October 2013, gave it a facelift, and turned it into a performance space. Visual art is also featured. While Don’s a musician, he didn’t build a stage for himself. He built it for others. The vision was to have a performing arts center; a vision he didn’t realize would be so much work. When Don was growing up, the fusion genre was big – a mix of rock and jazz. And that is how he came up with the name Fusion – because it can be a collaboration of all different things, he says.

The atmosphere is very intimate, comfortable, and subdued, with phenomenal sound, Don and Steve say. Conversations are kept to a minimum. “It’s a show … It’s really all about the performance and the artists,” Don says. The space comfortably fits 80 people, which lends to more storytelling from the performers and more interaction with the audience. Singer-songwriters are a good fit for Fusion.

Local and regional acts have been brought in since the first show in August 2014. Concerts tend to be 90 minutes long, but could also feature two sets or an opener with a headliner. The variety of music acts have included alternative grunge rock, southern bands, singer-songwriters, blues, pop-up jams, and local music spotlight shows. Events go way beyond music, however, with paint & sip events and community events among the mix.

Many events are free, with others having a small fee to cover band costs. The association is a non-for-profit, so donations are welcome. The group also pursues grant opportunities. Concessions are available during events with beer, wine, and soft drinks.

Four free events are regularly held each month. Aimee Crucianelli and Kids Karaoke is usually offered the first Sunday of the month.  Creative Kenosha is offered the first and third Monday of the month. This is an open forum for poetry, short stories and films, visual art, acoustic performers, and so on. Mike Salas hosts Comedy Open Mic on the first Thursday of every month. And on the third Friday of the month, BeExposed! to the Arts is offered, with multiple art mediums featured.

Five more facts:

  • The venue is available to rent for meetings, seminars, and other group functions including birthday and themed parties. People can bring in their own catering. Available are bistro and high top tables, banquet tables, chairs, theater style seating, multiple podiums, audio and video recording equipment, and more.
  • Created late in summer 2015 is a new outdoor space – a beer garden for evening concerts. It’s also an area where out-of-town bands can be welcomed and entertained.
  • The Kenosha Performing Arts Association could always use more volunteers. Anyone with an interest in the arts is welcome – to work the door at events, run sound production, assist with bands’ needs, work video production, plant flowers, clean, serve on the ‘street team’ to promote Fusion, and more.
  • While Don chose Downtown Kenosha for Fusion, he’s not originally from Kenosha: “I came here because of the harbor and the lakefront. I fell in love with Kenosha and I eventually moved here.”
  • Among the items on Don’s bucket list for Fusion: to offer educational singer songwriter clinics, hold disco nights, and hold an LP night with records playing.

Events are continually added to Fusion’s website, so check it often. Fusion: it’s a place to go in Downtown Kenosha to be entertained!

See the KACVB-produced Kenosha. Now. video clip here

(708) 217-8030, http://www.kenoshafusion.org/

September 2015

 

 

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